COVID-19 advice

This page will be regularly updated with all guidance and advice relating to COVID-19 for owners and members of the ROA.

Supporting You

We would like to thank you for your continued support during these uncertain times and give reassurance that we are committed to helping owners through this challenging period. 
 
Please do check the ROA’s online resources at roa.co.uk for the latest information.  Should you have any specific queries that we can assist with, please contact us via info@roa.co.uk or contact the team on the new office number of 01183 385680.
 
Sarah Holton                   07739 042591
Keely Brewer                   07734 051144
Sadie Evans                    07899 904127
Louise Norman                07967 985980
 
We have compiled some support guidance for owners as part of the British racing industry’s Coronavirus response, and the ROA along with industry leaders are continuing to develop proposals which will further assist Owners.

Racing Relief Fund

A new industry scheme – the Racing Relief Fund – will be led by the Racehorse Owners Association to meet the welfare needs of horses whose owners are suffering financial hardship. Supported by the Racing Foundation, this alone will provide up to £2.5 million of grants to assist with the costs of looking after horses, in racing stables and in rehoming centres.   

The establishment of a Racing Relief Fund of up to £2.5m

The establishment of this fund is designed to meet the welfare needs of horses who may be at risk if owners become unable to support them. The industry’s charity, Retraining of Racehorses, will work alongside others including the Racehorse Owners Association and key members of the Horse Welfare Board to ensure that the welfare needs of horses are given the priority that would be expected by those within and outside the industry.

Please contact the ROA for further details on info@roa.co.uk

Resumption of Racing

The Resumption of Racing Group has published the first week of fixtures and races. This can be downloaded here:

June - full race programme

 

Two-Year-Old races - first 8 days

As outlined in the Resumption of Racing planning update on 22 May,  Tuesday was the deadline for Trainers to put forward horses to have priority against elimination ballots for two-year-old contests in the first eight days of racing following resumption.

Additionally in this update, it was stated that the list of the prioritised horses, once finalised, would be published.

The list of Trainers with their nominated two-year-olds can be downloaded here.

Or as an Excel Spreadsheet here:

Two-Year-Old nominations

 

Provisional race programme for June

Update on resumption of racing planning
 
Race programme and fixture list

The BHA has today published a provisional race programme for the remainder of June 2020, which includes the date, location and race conditions for all fixtures scheduled from 9 – 30 June (inclusive).
 
The race programme can be viewed in full here. This will be added to the BHA’s Racing Administration website in the coming days.
 
We have also produced a separate list that shows specifically the Flat Pattern & Listed opportunities during this period.
 
Today’s update follows the publication last week of:

  • The race programme for the first 8 days of racing following resumption, which can be viewed here and has been updated on the Racing Admin website. Please note that entries for the fixture at Newcastle on Monday 1 June close at noon tomorrow (26 May)
  • A provisional fixture list that covers the period from 9 June until the end of August. Many fixtures, including Glorious Goodwood and The York Ebor meetings, remain unchanged from the original schedule.
  • The Order of Running for Royal Ascot 2020. Note that all Royal Ascot races, including the handicaps, will be restricted to a maximum 24 runners.
We hope that this information helps provide greater clarity for racecourses and support participants, particularly trainers and owners, in planning for your horses.
 
As noted in our previous email, fixtures in Scotland and Wales have been provisionally scheduled (denoted by TBC in the provisional race programme and fixture lists), but will only be confirmed following further consultation with the relevant Governments on timescales for potential resumption. We remain in direct discussion with both the Scottish and Welsh Governments.
 
Resumption planning
 
British racing continues to plan for resumption on Monday 1 June, in line with the UK Government’s provisional timetable for the return of sport behind closed doors.
 
On Saturday, we published the BHA’s COVID-19 guidelines and operating procedures for everyone attending race meetings from 1 June until further notice. These measures are to safeguard everyone's health and wellbeing during the current and continuing COVID-19 situation, to ensure that racing can resume in a safe and appropriate manner.
 
Anyone likely to attend a raceday in Great Britain should ensure they have read and/or understood the protocols outlined. These will be reviewed regularly and revised – and where possible, relaxed – in line with evolving government guidance.
 
We will continue to send further information over the following days and weeks, via these resumption of racing updates.
 

 

Guidelines of safe resumption of racing - 24 May

The governing body and regulator for horseracing has published its technical guidelines for participants and staff to allow racing to resume safely behind closed doors. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has worked with racecourses and representatives of trainers, jockeys and staff to adapt a normal race meeting, provide medical screening for all attendees in advance and maintain social distancing.

Download the Guidelines and operating procedures on resumption of racing for all attendees.

Resumption is conditional upon the government agreeing that restrictions can be eased further as part of Phase Two of its coronavirus recovery strategy, which includes the return of professional sport and other cultural events. The first race meeting is scheduled for 1st June, but the guidelines require participants to take action in preparation for attending meetings, so the publication of this technical document was necessary at this time.

Horseracing’s guidelines have been developed in consultation with officials from Public Health England and a group of cross-sport Chief Medical Officers, and drawn up under the direction of the BHA’s Chief Medical Advisor, Dr Jerry Hill. They are aligned with the government guidance for the return of elite sports published so far but can be adapted if required by subsequent guidance.

The key principle is to act in line with government policy to protect those working and competing at race-meetings, and to reassure the wider community that the risks of spreading corona virus have been kept to a minimum.

During the resumption phase, only those individuals required to stage a meeting are allowed on course and the ROA continues to work with the BHA to understand when this situation is able to change.

Race meetings without the public are an important stage in a full return to work for the racing industry which is worth more than £4 billion annually for the economy, much of which is generated in rural areas. 20,000 staff are directly employed, with tens of thousands more working in jobs that depend on racing.  

British racing remains in direct discussion with the devolved Governments regarding timescales for a potential resumption in Scotland and Wales.

A risk-managed return

The BHA and Dr Hill have carried out a detailed assessment of the risks from returning over several  weeks. The background risks for a horseracing event without the public are considered to be low.   

  • It is a non-contact sport in which social distancing can be maintained in most situations
  • It takes place out of doors where the risks of virus transmission are recognised to be lower
  • Most of those attending live in rural areas where the incidence of COVID-19 is generally  lower
  • Training of horses has continued: staff and riders have already adapted to social distancing
  • Most attending will do so in private vehicles and are not reliant on public transport  

A layered approach to risk-management will be followed, in which a series of checks will be carried out to keep the risk of transmitting the virus to a minimum. These begin with education and screening of all attendees before they are allowed to attend any event and include new social distancing restrictions on courses, measures to mitigate risks of injury, facial coverings for jockeys and some staff and an ongoing surveillance programme to monitor the virus in the racing communities, which will include some testing.

Through its resumption plans, British racing will ensure that:

  • It will act in line with government policy to protect those coming back to work and minimise the risk of spreading the virus 
  • For those working at an event, including officials, racecourse staff and participants, the implementation of these guidelines ensures that racing will take place in a more controlled environment than most day-to-day activities
  • This will be achieved through a combination of:
    • Efficient, repeated, targeted medical screening to ensure as much as possible that everyone who is on a racecourse is safe to be on that racecourse
    • Detailed guidance and protocols around managing a race day safely and mitigating the risks of the transmission of corona virus
    • Education to support behaviour changes, alongside sanctions if appropriate and necessary
  • Racing will liaise with NHS Providers in order to reduce the use of any medical or NHS services to a minimum, acting responsibly by using other healthcare resources – private ambulances, hospitals and medics – to protect the NHS.
The guidelines published today will be updated and adapted to remain in line with government policy and will be kept under constant review to ensure any learnings from resumption are identified and included.

The BHA’s Chief Regulatory Officer, Brant Dunshea, said

“Racing has been able to develop its guidelines based on our experience of operating bio-secure environments to control the spread of infection in horses, and a robust approach to regulation and enforcing the rules. Our trainers, jockeys and staff carry out their roles in a highly disciplined way because working with horses always carries risks. I am very confident they will adapt quickly to this new set of measures designed to protect them from transmission of the virus.” 

Fixture list and race planning - update 23 May

Update on resumption of racing planning
 
Fixture list and race planning

British racing continues to plan for resumption on Monday 1 June, in line with the UK Government’s provisional timetable for the return of sport behind closed doors.
 
Last week we published a race programme for the first 8 days of racing following resumption (1-8 June). The races and conditions are available to view on the BHA’s Racing Administration website.
 
To provide greater clarity for racecourses and support all industry participants in your own planning, we have today published a provisional fixture list that covers the period from 9 June to the end of August 2020.
 
Please note that many fixtures, including Glorious Goodwood and The York Ebor meetings, remain unchanged from the original schedule.
 
In addition, fixtures in Scotland and Wales have been provisionally scheduled (denoted by TBC in the provisional fixture list) but will only be confirmed following further consultation with the relevant Governments on timescales for potential resumption. We remain in direct discussion with both the Scottish and Welsh Governments. 
 
As you will be aware, we have also been working to develop a full race programme for the remainder of June. We will publish this on Monday 25 May. This will include the date, location and conditions of all races scheduled for 9-30 June.
 
We had originally hoped to complete and publish the June race programme this week, however with elements of this still to be finalised, doing so would have provided racecourses and participants with an incomplete picture of how the provisional programme will look – and one that would in all likelihood need to be amended subsequent to publication.
 
However, we can confirm that the race programme will include additional 2yo races for the first 8 days following resumption. These can be viewed here and are shown on the Racing Admin website. In addition, we will start prioritising 3yo novice and maiden races towards the middle of the second week (w/c 9 June).
 
Earlier today, Ascot Racecourse unveiled the Order of Running for its behind closed doors Royal Ascot meeting, which is scheduled for 16 – 20 June. This outlined several alterations to this year’s Royal meeting, which will include six additional races, with seven races staged on the first four days and eight on the final card. More information on field sizes is provided below, but please note that all races at Royal Ascot, including the handicaps, will be restricted to a maximum of 24 runners.
 
Additionally, elimination from Royal Ascot races for 2yos will be based purely on previous finishing positions, with priority given in the following order:

  1. Horses that have won an Open Novice or Maiden race
  2. Horses that have won a Restricted Novice or Maiden race
  3. Horses that have finished second in an Open Novice or Maiden race
  4. Horses that have finished second in a Restricted Novice or Maiden race
  5. Horses that have finished third in an Open Novice or Maiden race
  6. Horses that have finished third in a Restricted Novice or Maiden race
  7. Horses that have finished fourth in an Open Novice or Maiden race
  8. Horses that have finished fourth in a Restricted Novice or Maiden race
  9. Unraced horses
  10. Horses that have run but have not been placed in the first four

The following list includes other important points to help you with planning, some of which have been included in previous updates, and other that have been finalised over the past few days:
 
72-hour declarations will be in place for all races from 1 June until further notice. This will ensure all participants are able to complete the necessary preparatory steps between declaration and attendance at the racecourse, including the compulsory pre-entry health screening (details of which will be communicated to the industry in the coming days). We appreciate that the use of 72-hour declarations will create additional challenges for trainers and will revert to 48-hour declarations once it is clear this is viable.
 
Field sizes – the following will apply:

  • All non-Pattern and Listed races will be limited to 12 runners per race. This reflects risk modelling that indicates that field sizes of 12 or fewer in non-Pattern and Listed races reduces the risk to participants on the track. Even though more races have been programmed at each fixture than would normally be the case, we recognise that this will increase competition for places. This will be reviewed at the end of the first week of racing.
  • Pattern and Listed races will not be limited to 12 runners. These races will be subject to the existing maximum field size limits, or any other limit imposed by the racecourse at which the races are to be held. Again, this decision is based on risk modelling, which indicates that Pattern and Listed races are less likely to involve an incident.

Handicapping – with the start of the season being delayed, we will help more horses become eligible for a handicap rating after two runs.

  • A horse will be eligible for a handicap rating if it (i) finishes in the first six places on both of its first two starts, or (ii) has completed two starts having won first time out. We can also confirm that the handicap rating for any horse that has, as a result of either of these changes, become eligible to be rated, will be published within the ‘Official Ratings’ section of the BHA website.
  • In addition, the current rules state that in order to run in a handicap with a Total Race Value of £45,000 or more, a horse must have run at least three times. Given the lack of opportunity for a 3yo to have a third run this year before some such handicaps take place, this rule will not be enforced until 1 July. This means that relaxation of the qualification rules outlined above will now also apply to high value handicaps until the end of June.
British-based horses – there will be no regional restrictions in place for British-based horses on resumption. However, the revised fixture list provides a good geographical spread of fixtures to maximise opportunities for horses across the country.

International runners – international runners will only be permitted to run initially in the three Group 1 races taking place in Britain during the first fortnight (Coronation Cup, 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas). Under our current planning, international runners will be able to participate in all Pattern and Listed races taking place in Britain from 15 June 2020 onwards. We are also assessing the implications of this evening’s announcement from the UK Government on quarantine measures for international travellers to the UK from 8 June. We will provide further guidance in due course. More information international runners is available here.
 
Overnight accommodation at racecourses – please note that overnight accommodation will not be available at ANY racecourse for staff or horses from 1 June and until further notice.
 
Jump racing – the provisional fixture list includes Jump racing from 1 July. As confirmed previously, we will amend Jump novice status so that winners since the beginning of February will retain their novice status until 30 November.
 
Resumption planning
 
We will be publishing British Racing’s protocols for racing behind closed doors in the coming days. This is specific guidance for the racing industry to help safeguard the health of employees and participants in a controlled and managed return to racing behind closed doors.
 
This document, which is underpinned by government and public health guidance, will be applicable for everyone attending race meetings, and their employers, who will all need to be aware of and comply with the new and revised procedures and protocols in place.
 
It will include details about who is permitted to attend the racecourse in the early stages of resumption; an overview of the compulsory pre-raceday health screening requirements; information about the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and face coverings; and changes to racecourse protocols and procedures to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements.
 
In the meantime, and as communicated in our previous update, industry participants have been asked to complete the following actions in preparation for the resumption of racing on 1 June.

Updating employee records – trainers

As the BHA will need to communicate with all individuals who are registered to attend a raceday, all trainers are asked to ensure that the stable employee records for any individual who is likely to attend a fixture are up to date. The key details to check are:
 
• Full, correct name
• Date of birth
• Contact details (including mobile phone and email address for the individual)
• Next of kin details
• Ensure that the Racehorse Attendant Pass is in date

Mandatory online education module – all attendees
 
An online education module – COVID-19 Information for participants of the racing industry – has been developed and must be completed successfully by all attendees prior to their first attendance at a raceday from 1 June.
 
Any person who has not completed the online module will not be granted access to the racecourse.
 
The training module is available to complete now on the Racing2Learn website. More information about the module, including a step-by-step guide on registration and how to complete the course, is available here.
 
Uploading horse vaccination records to Weatherbys Vaccination App – trainers

Trainers (or another responsible person) are asked to upload the vaccination records of all horses declared to run to the Weatherbys Vaccination App. This should be completed for all horses declared to run from 1 June until further notice.

Storing the records electronically will remove the need for manual checking of vaccination records and prevent any administrative issues on the racecourse, thereby assisting with social distancing.

Once the vaccination history has been cleared by the BHA, all future and subsequent vaccinations between the pre-clearance and race day should be uploaded directly by those responsible for the horse onto the Weatherbys Vaccination App.

Trainers have been contacted directly with instructions about how to download, register with and use the Weatherbys Vaccination App.  Any queries should be directed to Weatherbys on +44 (0)1933 440077 or vaccapp@weatherbys.co.uk.
 
Additional information to support industry planning
 
Schedule of the Rule and BHAGI waivers and amendments
 
A number of temporary changes to both the Rules of Racing and the BHA's General Instructions have been introduced for racing to resume behind closed doors. These can be read here. Additional updates to the Rules and BHAGIs will be communicated next week.
 

 

Royal Ascot programme

Ascot Racecourse today unveils the Order Of Running for the behind closed doors 2020 Royal Meeting (16th to 20th June).

In this unprecedented year, there are several alterations to the programme, including six extra races being added to the fixture.

There will be seven races staged on the first four days, with eight on the final card.

The Buckingham Palace Handicap, lost from the card when the Commonwealth Cup was introduced in 2015, will open the meeting.

A Silver Royal Hunt Cup (1m) and a Silver Wokingham Handicap (6f) are included for those who miss the cut for the main events.

Also staged this year only will be the Copper Horse Handicap (14f, 4yo+), the Golden Gates Handicap (10f, 3yo) and the Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap (5f, 3yo).

Her Majesty The Queen has graciously consented to these temporary new names. The Copper Horse is a statue of King George III mounted on horseback marking the end of the Long Walk in Windsor Great Park, adjacent to the racecourse; The Golden Gates are the ceremonial entrance point for the Royal Procession at the end of the straight mile; The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the Monarchy in Scotland.

Amongst the changes to the regular programme are the movement of the St James's Palace Stakes and Coronation Stakes to the final day, to maximise the time between them and the Guineas at Newmarket (6th and 7th June).

In order to provide two-year-olds with as much time as possible before the key races at Royal Ascot, the two year old programme has been moved back with four of the six races to be staged on Friday and Saturday.

The King Edward VII Stakes and Ribblesdale Stakes, now key Derby and Oaks Trials, will be on the opening day in order to maximise the gap to Derby and Oaks Day (4th July). The Hampton Court, also an eligible Epsom trial this year, will be run on day two.

Prize money will be confirmed in due course.

"We are most grateful to the BHA's race planning team for their assistance in framing the additional races for this exceptional renewal of Royal Ascot," said Nick Smith, Director of Racing and Public Affairs at Ascot Racecourse.

"We hope these extra opportunities will be welcomed by horsemen, broadcasters and the public at home.

"Under Ruth Quinn, a lot of work has gone into scheduling an appropriate Pattern trials programme, beginning on 3rd June, alongside an enhanced two-year-old programme.

"We are of course taking nothing for granted in terms of government's final approval to permit behind closed doors sporting events from 1st June. We are announcing the programme today, with the dates of the Royal Meeting already public as part of the wider schedule for resumption, so that Horsemen can begin their detailed planning."

Royal Ascot Order of Running:

Tuesday

Buckingham Palace Handicap (7f, 3yo+)

Queen Anne Stakes (1m, Group One, 4yo+)

Ribblesdale Stakes (1 1/2m, Group Two, 3yo fillies)

King Edward VII Stakes (1 1/2m, Group Two, 3yo colts & geldings)

King's Stand Stakes (5f, Group One, 3yo+)

Duke of Cambridge Stakes (1m, Group Two, 4yo+ fillies and mares)

Ascot Stakes Handicap (2 1/2m, 4yo+)

Wednesday

Silver Royal Hunt Cup Handicap (1m, 3yo+)

Hampton Court Stakes (10f, Group Three, 3yo)

King George V Handicap (1 1/2m, 3yo)

Prince of Wales's Stakes (10f, Group One, 4yo+)

Royal Hunt Cup Handicap (1m, 3yo+)

Windsor Castle Stakes (5f, Listed, 2yo)

Copper Horse Handicap (1 3/4m, 4yo+)

 Thursday

Golden Gates Handicap (10f, 3yo)

Wolferton Stakes (10f, Listed, 4yo+)

Jersey Stakes (7f, Group Three, 3yo)

Chesham Stakes (7f, Listed, 2yo)

Gold Cup (2 1/2m, Group One, 4yo+)

Britannia Handicap (1m, 3yo colts & geldings)

Sandringham Handicap (1m, 3yo, fillies)

Friday

Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap (5f, 3yo)

Albany Stakes (6f, Group Three, 2yo fillies)

Norfolk Stakes (5f, Group Two, 2yo)

Hardwicke Stakes (1 1/2m, Group Two, 4yo+)

Commonwealth Cup (6f, Group One, 3yo colts & fillies)

Queen's Vase (1 3/4m, Group Two, 3yo)

Duke of Edinburgh Handicap (1 1/2m, 3yo+)

Saturday

Silver Wokingham Handicap (6f, 3yo+)

Queen Mary Stakes (5f, Group Two, 2yo fillies)

Coronation Stakes (1m, Group One, 3yo fillies)

Coventry Stakes (6f, Group Two, 2yo)

St James's Palace Stakes (1m, Group One, 3yo colts)

Diamond Jubilee Stakes (6f, Group One, 4yo+)

Wokingham Handicap (6f, 3yo+)

Queen Alexandra Stakes (2 3/4m, Conditions, 4yo+)

Race two onwards (race three onwards on Saturday) will be shown on ITV1 and all races will be shown on Sky Sports Racing. Racing will begin at 1.15pm Tuesday to Friday and 12.40pm on Saturday, with the final race at 4.40pm.

COVID-19 eLearning module

COVID-19 - elearning module - user guide.pdf

 

The eLearning module for racecourse attendees can be found at: https://racing2learn.com/

Resumption of Racing - update 19 May

Dear Owner,

Please find below the latest news from the Resumption of Racing Committee.

Update on resumption of racing planning

British racing continues to plan for resumption on Monday 1 June, in line with the UK Government’s provisional timetable for the return of sport behind closed doors.

To support this plan, we are today outlining some of the preparatory steps that we will need to work on together between now and 1 June to ensure that we are all ready, should the UK Government’s provisional timeline be met.

By publishing these steps, we aim to provide greater certainty for the industry on the publication of key information for behind closed doors racing, including new and revised processes and protocols, together with actions that will need to be completed by industry participants prior to racing resuming.

This preparatory work will ensure that we can safeguard our people’s health and wellbeing, and return to racing in a safe and appropriate manner.

All relevant details and guidance will be communicated to the industry in good time, to ensure that participants, staff and officials understand the requirements and how these will apply before, during and after a race meeting.

Key milestones

Friday 22 May – Publish fixture list and race programme, covering the period 9 – 30 June (inclusive).

  • Last week, the BHA produced the fixture list and race programme for the first 8 days of racing following resumption. The race conditions have been finalised and published on the BHA’s Racing Administration website.
  • As with all race planning at this point, the exact timetable will be based on our best-case scenario planning for resumption on 1 June.
  • Please note, 72-hour declarations will be in place for all races from 1 June until further notice.

No later than 26 May – Publish British Racing’s protocols for racing behind closed doors.

  • This is specific guidance for the racing industry to safeguard the health of employees and participants in a safe return to racing behind closed doors
  • The document will be aimed at everyone attending race meetings, and their employers, who will all need to be aware of and ensure compliance with the new and revised protocols
  • We will aim to publish this early next week. In the meantime, we will continue to provide regular updates to support industry preparation, as we have been doing throughout the resumption planning process. The protocols document will be a consolidation of all this information in one easily accessible place.
  • Speaking yesterday, the UK Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, mentioned horseracing in the context of behind closed doors sports planning; noting that the UK Government and Public Health England are working with racing and other sports to work out the safest possible way of proceeding

Immediate actions to support industry planning

The list below includes the actions that participants can complete immediately in preparation for racing on 1 June.

Further actions will be added to this list and communicated to the industry in good time so that you know what is required and when it needs to be completed.

Updating employee records – trainers

As the BHA will need to communicate with all individuals who are registered to attend a raceday, all trainers are asked to ensure that the stable employee records for any individual who is likely to attend a fixture are up to date. The key details to check are:

  • Full, correct name
  • Date of birth
  • Contact details (including mobile phone and email address for the individual)
  • Next of kin details
  • Ensure that the Racehorse Attendant Pass is in date

Uploading horse vaccination records to Weatherbys Vaccination App – trainers

Trainers (or another responsible person) are asked to upload the vaccination records of all horses declared to run to the Weatherbys Vaccination App. This should be completed for all horses declared to run from 1 June until further notice.

Storing the records electronically will remove the need for manual checking of vaccination records and prevent any administrative issues on the racecourse, thereby assisting with social distancing.

Once the vaccination history has been cleared by the BHA, all future and subsequent vaccinations between the pre-clearance and race day should be uploaded directly by those responsible for the horse onto the Weatherbys Vaccination App.

Trainers have been contacted directly with instructions about how to download, register with and use the Weatherbys Vaccination App. Any queries should be directed to Weatherbys on +44 (0)1933 440077 or vaccapp@weatherbys.co.uk.

Mandatory online education module – all racecourse attendees

An online education moduleCOVID-19 Information for participants of the racing industry – has has been developed and must be completed successfully by all attendees prior to their first attendance at a raceday from 1 June. Any person who has not completed the online module will not be granted access to the racecourse.

This course will provide attendees with a baseline understanding of COVID-19, social distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene, racecourse protocols and PPE requirements*.

The training module is available to complete now on the Racing2Learn website. To access the course please register on Racing2Learn, which is free to all users.

*Please note: the BHA is currently liaising with the NTF, PJA and NARS regarding protective equipment for jockeys and stable staff. We will update you accordingly when these plans are finalised.

Additional information to support industry planning

Government guidance – all racecourse attendees

The UK Government last week published a timeline for the potential resumption of sporting events in England, which outlined plans for sporting and cultural events to resume behind closed doors as part of the second step of lifting lockdown restrictions. This will take place from Monday 1 June at the earliest, but is subject to an assessment by public health officials of the risks posed by the virus at that time.

To help support racing’s resumption planning, we ask that everyone in the industry familiarises themselves with the latest government guidance, in particular the documents relating to:

Please note that government guidance in Scotland and Wales may differ from guidance in England.

The Welsh Government has also published its roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions, with a ‘traffic light’ guide that includes team, individual and non contact sports and behind closed doors events in the ‘amber’ phase. The Scottish Government is due to unveil its plans on Thursday. Neither government has yet outlined a specific timeline for the return of sport behind closed doors; therefore, it is possible that circumstances and timescales may differ across the UK.

Racing industry leaders and the BHA Public Affairs Team are in direct contact with the Sport Ministers in Scotland and Wales around planning for a risk-managed resumption of racing as soon as possible.

Two-year-old eliminations scheme extended to include all trainers

In an update on Friday 15 May, details of a policy were published which has the intention of ensuring that the two-year-old races at Royal Ascot feature the best horses in order to support the quality of racing and protect the integrity of the two-year-old Pattern.

This policy is an unprecedented step on account of the unique set of circumstances this year and is intended to manage the demand for two-year-old runs in the first eight days following resumption. This policy has been extended to include all trainers, following discussions with the National Trainers Federation and the Racehorse Owners Association.

By this time of the year there would normally have been around 700 individual two-year-old performances. These performances would have helped determine the horses which would be of sufficient quality to compete at Royal Ascot. Bearing this in mind, a number of races have been programmed specifically for two-year-olds after resumption – and these races have been given priority to divide once or sometimes twice – but despite this it is anticipated that there will only be capacity for around half of that number of runners ahead of Royal Ascot.

In order to get into Ascot races, a previous run is likely to be necessary and the chances of getting one would normally be decided by random ballot.

Under the policy, trainers are being asked to identify specific horses that they would like to see given priority against elimination from any division of the currently programmed two-year-old races. The offering of priority from elimination is intended to help trainers with two-year-olds that they feel are Ascot prospects ensure that they have a chance to get into a race in the first eight days upon resumption, so as to potentially be able to go on to Ascot.

The number of horses that can be selected by any trainer is based on their previous record with two-year-olds in Open Maiden or Novice races as well as the number of runners that they have had in Royal Ascot two-year-old races in the last three years. The number of priority nominations resulting from this formula is relatively small per trainer, with 126 nominations spread across 50 trainers. This means that we would expect a further 225 places to be available in two-year-old races in the first eight days for horses that have not been prioritised by their trainers, and qualification for these places will be by random ballot.

Following further consultation with horsemen representatives it has now also been agreed that trainers that did not qualify for priority selections through this formula will be invited to make up to one selection should they feel that they have a horse that they consider to be an Ascot prospect.

All trainers are asked to manage their entries to limit demand for the initial two-year-old races where possible, for horses that they believe can wait until the second week of races. The programme will continue to offer opportunities for two-year olds in the second week alongside a ramp up of the number of three-year-old Novice and Maiden races.

Trainers will be contacted directly to let them know how they can submit a horse to be given priority against elimination in the first eight days. Any such submission must be made by 26 May, with the full list of submitted horses to be published on 27 May.

Health screening for attendees

All racecourse attendees will be required to undergo pre-entry health screening. Those who have not completed, or who do not pass, the necessary screening will be refused entry to the racecourse.

This screening is likely to consist of a pre-attendance questionnaire, which must be completed no more frequently than every 7 days, and health screening on arrival at the racecourse. We continue to liaise with Government to determine its requirements around laboratory testing, should it be required.

The exact health screening process is still in development and will be communicated to the industry as soon as it has been finalised. Please be assured that this will be shared in good time to ensure industry participants understand the requirements.

Personal Protective Equipment

Medical Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is used to protect people from exposure to dangerous substances such as chemicals or from biological material such as body fluids, bacteria and viruses (for example Covid-19).

PPE comprises:

  • Face masks and respirators
  • Eye coverings (face shields and goggles)
  • Gloves
  • Body coverings (plastic aprons, isolation gowns and coveralls)
  • Foot coverings (shoe covers)

Whilst resumption planning is predicated on reducing the risk of exposure (in particular to Covid-19), there are a number of roles where risk reduction through social distancing is not always possible, and where people may come in to contact with others who may carry the virus.

The BHA’s Chief Medical Adviser, Dr Jerry Hill, has been working with his counterparts across major sports to develop a safety protocol for people in roles at greater risk of exposure. This guidance defines who must wear some protective equipment while at work.

This guidance has been shared with racecourses to support their operational planning, and Dr Hill is engaged in discussions with representatives of industry participants, including the NTF, PJA and NARS, to provide further clarification on protective equipment for jockeys and stable staff.

The outcome of these discussions will be communicated to the industry in good time to ensure the necessary procurement can be completed.

Resumption of Racing - update 14 May

Resumption planning

Following the UK Government’s publication of a provisional timeline for the return of sport, we are now planning for racing to resume behind closed doors on 1 June.

To support this plan, the sport will publish by Monday a timetable setting out the preparatory steps we need to work on together, prior to the return of racing, to ensure we are ready to meet that date. This will include an outline of the processes and protocols that need to be agreed and communicated across the industry, and we will be asking for your help and support in ensuring that this “lead-in” preparation is completed as quickly as possible.

We know that significant changes have already been implemented across the industry – in training yards, at studs and on racecourses – to ensure strict adherence to social distancing measures and to help reduce the spread of the virus.

In the same manner, strict measures will be applied on racedays, and the racecourses are working with the BHA’s Course Inspectors to develop and implement the necessary requirements to provide the safest possible environment for all attendees. This includes planning for how a raceday will function – including entry and exit and movement around the site – whilst maintaining social distancing.

The details of these changes will be communicated to the industry in good time, to ensure that participants, staff and officials understand the requirements that have been introduced and how they will apply during a raceday.

As explained in previous updates, attendance at each meeting will be limited to only those personnel required to deliver the race fixture, with the number able to attend determined by public health restrictions in place at the time. These restrictions on attendance will be continually reviewed and gradually eased to accommodate connections, including owners, and other raceday staff in line with Government guidance.

Weatherbys horse vaccination app

The first of the preparatory measures being introduced, which we expect to launch on Monday, is to pre-clear vaccinations in horse passports via a new vaccination app, thereby assisting BHA staff and those responsible for the horses to maintain social distancing on racedays. As well as making the raceday operation more efficient, the vaccination app will also help prevent any raceday administrative issues around vaccination records.

Once the vaccination history has been cleared by the BHA, all future and subsequent vaccinations between the pre-clearance and race day should be uploaded directly by those responsible for the horse onto the Weatherbys Vaccination App.

Weatherbys will be contacting trainers tomorrow with details and will provide all necessary advice and support.

Fixture list and race planning

Last week we produced a provisional outline race programme to cover the initial period after resumption. Today we have published an updated list, which includes the racecourses where the first eight days of fixtures will be held. This can be viewed in full here.

We are also working with racecourses to develop a fixture list and race programme to cover 9 June onwards. This will provide greater clarity for racecourses and support participants, particularly trainers and owners, in planning for your horses. We intend to publish the fixture list and race programme for the remainder of June by the end of next week.

Additionally, the Flat Pattern Committee yesterday published an updated provisional plan for Flat Pattern and Listed races, which covers the first seven days following resumption – including the 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas on 6 and 7 June, respectively. The timetable also includes provisional dates for Royal Ascot (16-20 June), the Derby and Oaks (Saturday 4 July) and the Eclipse (5 July).

As with all race planning at this point, the exact timetable is based on our best-case scenario planning and remains subject to an assessment by public health officials of the risks posed by the virus at the time.

Other important points to help with planning at this stage include:

  • Handicapping – with the start of the season being delayed, we will help more horses become eligible for a handicap rating after two runs. A horse will be eligible for a handicap rating if it (i) finishes in the first six places on both of its first two starts, or (ii) has completed two starts having won first time out. We can also confirm that the handicap rating for any horse that has, as a result of either of these changes, become eligible to be rated, will be published within the ‘Official Ratings’ section of the BHA website on Tuesday 19 May.
  • British-based horses – there will be no regional restrictions in place for British-based horses on resumption. However, the revised fixture list will seek to provide a good geographical spread of fixtures to maximise opportunities for horses across the country.
  • Foreign trained runners – Details about the participation of foreign trained runners following the resumption of racing will be issued tomorrow.
  • Jump racing – we continue to plan towards a resumption of Jump racing at the beginning of July. As confirmed previously, we will amend Jump novice status so that winners since the beginning of February will retain their novice status until 30 November.

 

Prize money

Every effort is being made to keep this as high as possible on resumption, and we have today published the minimum prize money values for the first 10 weeks of racing.

The £15.7million in contributions from the Levy Board allows minimum prize money values to remain, on average, at just over 80% of the previously permitted levels, with a particular focus on safeguarding prize money at the mid to lower level races. This is primarily to support the retention of racehorse owners and horses in training.

As explained in previous updates, in normal circumstances, racecourses provide approximately half of prize money, but with racing staged behind closed doors and betting shops (which drive media rights income) closed, their contributions will be significantly impacted. The increased contribution from the Levy Board has allowed the sport to mitigate this to a certain extent, but it has not been possible to fully make up for the loss of revenue.

However, as with all areas of resumption, the minimum prize money values announced today are seen as a short-term measure, which will be under constant review, and it’s important that these values can be raised at the earliest possible opportunity.

Government relations

The BHA’s Chief Medical Advisor, Dr Jerry Hill, continues to work with counterparts from other major sports, the UK Government and Public Health England to develop the principles around the safe resumption of sport. The BHA also remains in regular dialogue with the UK Sports Minister. These discussions will help inform and complement the work already being undertaken by the industry – in particular, racecourses – to facilitate a safe and responsible return to racing behind closed doors.

As explained above, the UK Government has set out its provisional timetable for the resumption of sport behind closed doors. The UK Government has also confirmed that it will work with the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales to ensure where possible that plans for easing lockdown restrictions are coordinated.

It is, nonetheless, possible that circumstances and timescales may differ across the UK, and the BHA Public Affairs Team is also in direct contact with the Sport Ministers in Scotland and Wales around planning for a risk-managed resumption of racing as soon as possible.

Prize-money update - 14 May

  • Reduction in prize money inevitable with no crowds on racecourses and betting shops closed
  • Levy Board contributions allow, on average, minimum prize money levels to remain at just over 80% of the previously permitted minimum levels
  • Racing’s cross-industry Members Committee agrees focus should be on safeguarding prize money at the mid/lower echelons of the racing pyramid
  • Initial values cover 10-week period from the resumption of racing and remain under review

Supporting prize money levels at the middle and grassroots level of the sport is the focus as the minimum prize money levels allowed under the Rules of Racing for the first 10 weeks of racing’s resumption have been published.

With racing being staged behind closed doors and betting shops remaining closed, a reduction in prize money when the sport resumes is inevitable as racecourse revenues have been severely impacted. However, £15.7m in contributions from the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) published earlier today have allowed racing’s leaders to agree minimum values which exceed, on average, 80% of the previously permitted minimum levels.

Although Racing’s Members Committee, which includes representation from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), racecourses and horsemen, were concerned with the impact of prize money reductions on all levels of racing, it agreed that prize money at the mid to lower echelons of the sport should be protected as much as possible. This was primarily to support the retention of racehorse owners and horses in training.

The permitted minimum value of prize money at the upper echelons, which are generally more reliant on racecourse contributions and sponsorship, are affected to a greater extent than grassroots racing in this period.

The Levy Board will closely monitor the levy revenues generated once racing resumes. Minimum values will remain under review and revert to current levels as soon as circumstances allow.

Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer for the BHA, said:

“British racing’s recovery from the current situation will be dependent on the continuing support of racehorse owners and it is therefore regrettable that, as has also been the case in other jurisdictions, we have had to reduce minimum prize money levels when racing returns.

“We are very grateful for the increased contributions provided by the Horseracing Betting Levy Board which have allowed the sport to mitigate the impact to a certain extent, and agree a strategy that seeks to support the retention of owners and their horses. However, even with those, it has not been possible to fully make up for the loss of revenues resulting from racing without crowds or betting shops remaining closed, particularly in the higher classes that were especially dependent on contributions from racecourses and their sponsors.

“We are fortunate that many owners at all levels continue to demonstrate their loyalty to the sport, and it is important to stress that these reductions, which will also impact on the livelihoods of trainers, jockeys and stable staff, are a short-term measure only.

“The resumption of racing at the beginning of June provides a fantastic opportunity to put British racing into the spotlight and engage the nation with our sport. This can yield benefits in the short term and for years to come. The values will therefore remain under constant review as it is important that they are raised at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Charlie Liverton, Chief Executive of the Racehorse Owners Association said:

“The contribution of the HBLB is most welcome and will go a long way to protecting prize money for owners in the new programme. The planned return to racing has been a huge collaborative effort from the horsemen, the racecourses, the BHA and the Levy Board. However, we simply would not have a sport to return to without the great loyalty shown by owners who have supported their horses in training throughout this challenging period. We cannot thank them enough for the patience and support they have shown.”

David Armstrong, Chief Executive of the RCA, said:

“The RCA on behalf of its members welcomes the prize money support provided by the HBLB which is essential in enabling the resumption of racing behind closed doors. The operational conditions faced by racecourses to stage racing behind closed doors are complex and we are working hard to be ready for resumption on 1st June. The continuing support by the HBLB to fund the efforts across the sport, including for racecourses, will be essential.”

The following tables illustrate the previous minimum values, the proposed HBLB funding for each race, the new proposed minimum values (which also take into account the fees paid by owners to enter races) and the relative percentages between the previous and proposed  minimum values.

Flat

* Please note: Although it is proposed that minimum values at the lower levels increase, this fails to reflect that the additional levy funding and appearance money that had previously been voluntarily unlocked at these levels by all racecourses would cease. To illustrate, a Class 6 handicap previously had a minimum value of £3,500. However, if racecourses contributed a further £400 above that minimum, additional levy funding was provided so that the total race value was £5,593. Therefore, although the minimum value has increased, the standard total race value of Class 6 handicaps will fall from £5,593 to £4,300. 

Jump

The proposed funding and minimum values for Chases and Hurdle races are shown below:

Chase


Hurdle

 

Flat Pattern Committee - update 13 May

Following the UK government publishing a provisional timetable for the return of professional sport on Monday, the racing industry’s leaders continue to plan for a resumption of racing from 1 June. 

To this end, the BHA’s Flat Pattern Committee has today published an update to the programme of Pattern and Listed races for the first seven days of June to reflect this new provisional timetable. 
 
The plan remains to stage the 2000 and 1000 Guineas on 6 and 7 June respectively, with Royal Ascot on its scheduled dates from 16-20 June. There will be some changes to the order of races at Royal Ascot, which will be confirmed as soon as possible. 

In addition, the Derby and Oaks will be scheduled for Saturday 4 July, with the Eclipse moved back a day to the Sunday (5 July). Under these circumstances, the Eclipse would be restricted to four-years-old and upwards.
 
The exact timetable for the resumption of racing will remain subject to agreement from government and an assessment by public health officials of the risks posed by the virus at that time.  Any changes to the timetable are likely to have an impact on the programme for Pattern and Listed races.

A provisional race programme for the first seven days of non-Pattern races was released on 7 May, and we expect to publish further detail on this period, as well as a provisional race programme for the second seven day period, later this week. 
 
The aim remains to provide, as soon as possible, at least one Pattern or Listed opportunity covering the key distances for the different sections of the population for three-year-olds and up, with a suitable number of novice/conditions races for two-year-olds scheduled to ensure horses can have a chance to run prior to Royal Ascot. Pattern and Listed races will now also be open to international runners.
 
We must emphasise that this provisional plan may still need to be adjusted according to when and under what circumstances racing is safely able to recommence.

Races to be run between 3 June and 4 June

Classic Trial (10f 3yo Group 3)
Snowdrop (8f 3+ f Listed)
Pavilion (6f 3yo Group 3)

Races to be run on Friday 5 June
 
Abernant (6f 3+ Group 3)
Brigadier Gerard (10f 4+ Group 3)
Paradise (8f 3+ Listed)
Lingfield Oaks Trial (11½f 3yo f Listed)
Lingfield Derby Trial (11½f 3yo cg Listed)
Coronation Cup (12f 4+ Group 1)

Races to be run on Saturday 6 June

2000 Guineas (8f 3yo cf Group 1)
*Dahlia (10f 4+ f Group 2)
Palace House (5f 3+ Group 3)
Sagaro (16f 4+ Group 3)
Newmarket (10f 3yo cg Listed)

(*Note: Distance change of the Dahlia to 10f)

Races to be run on Sunday 7 June

1000 Guineas (8f 3yo f Group 1)
Pretty Polly (10f 3yo f Listed)
Buckhounds (12f 4+ Listed)
Cecil Frail (6f 3+ f Listed)
Spring Trophy (7f 3+ Group 3)
Pinnacle (12f 4+ f Group 3)
 
About the Flat Pattern Committee

The Flat Pattern Committee (FPC) advises and makes recommendations to the BHA Board on matters relating to maintaining and improving the programme of Flat Pattern and Listed races.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the FPC will help ensure that a suitable programme is delivered for the horses that are most likely to provide a future fundamental role on behalf of the breed.

Membership of the FPC:

Lydia Hislop (C)
Emma Berry
Harry Charlton
Andy Clifton
Philip Freedman
William Haggas
Rishi Persad
Ruth Quinn
Simon Crisford
Julian Richmond-Watson
Nick Smith
Nicholas Wrigley

Executive Committee - statement 11 May

Senior executives from British horseracing have welcomed the publication of a timeline for the potential resumption of sporting events by the UK Government today.

In its document, Our Plan to Rebuild, the Government said it planned for sporting and cultural events to resume behind closed doors as part of the second step of lifting the current restrictions.

This will take place from Monday 1st June at the earliest. Until this time, it says, restrictions currently in place around such events will continue.

This date is subject to an assessment by public health officials of the risks posed by the virus at that time and is conditional on the fulfilment of the government’s five tests for easing lockdown measures.

Racing’s Executive Committee, which includes the British Horseracing Authority, the Racecourse Association, The Racehorse Owners’ Association and the National Trainers Federation, committed to plan for resumption on June 1st.

They agreed that a timeline setting out what racing would need to do to meet that date will be published within the next seven days.

The Resumption of Racing Group will meet later this week and ensure that race planning and the provisional fixture programme, including the scheduling of the Classics and other flagship races, meet the new government timeline.   

Racing has already drawn up plans for resumption based on minimising risk for participants through robust social distancing and strict infection control measures. Discussions with Public Health England and Chief Medical Officers from sports including horseracing will also continue.

This has involved the development of new processes and protocols, which will require significant adjustments to ‘normal’ race-day practices. The sport will be focusing its efforts during the remainder of May on finalising and agreeing these changes across the industry and supporting everyone to understand and adopt them.

The document also says that reopening venues that attract large crowds, such as sports stadia, ‘may only be fully possible significantly later depending on the reduction in numbers of infections’ but it gives no specific timeline. 

The UK Government says it is working with the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales to coordinate the easing of lockdown restrictions where possible. The BHA’s Public Affairs team continues to liaise with politicians and officials in Scotland and Wales to progress resumption at the earliest opportunity.

Resumption of Racing - update 7 May

Update from the Resumption of Racing Group

 

Government relations


On Sunday 10 May, the UK Government will outline the next phase of its response to the coronavirus pandemic, which may include changes to its current social distancing restrictions and, potentially, a timeline for the resumption of sport.


Racing industry leaders will then meet on Monday 11 May to discuss the Government’s announcement and its implications for our own resumption planning.


We understand that everyone across the industry wants to know the date on which racing can resume.


We are continuing to have positive conversations with government, including public health officials. However, the reality is that the industry will need to understand more about the UK Government’s approach for the return of sport, and the operational implications of any continuing restrictions – and equally the plans from the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales – before we can provide a clear date for resumption.


Earlier this week, Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, spoke positively about the resumption of sport, confirming that he was open to horse racing returning next month and highlighting the plans being developed by racing, to ensure this is done in a safe way. 


This optimism was echoed by the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, who noted that the return of sport would “lift the spirits of the nation”. He referenced the “constructive meetings with sports bodies” and the plans being developed by the Culture Secretary for a safe and sustainable resumption of sport, in line with medical and scientific advice.     


We remain strongly focused on ensuring that we are prepared to resume at the earliest possible opportunity and that our plans are sufficiently flexible to allow for a range of different scenarios, which can be adapted and implemented in line with the gradual easing of Government restrictions. This includes understanding the public health requirements that will be in place around testing, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or returning to work – and how these may apply to racing.


In line with this, and as our plans for resumption are finalised, any necessary processes and protocols will need to be agreed across the industry and communicated to participants. To resume at the first possible opportunity, we will be asking for your help and support in ensuring that this “lead-in” preparation is completed as quickly as possible.


This flexible and positive planning approach has been communicated to government by the BHA, which continues to liaise with the UK Government and the Devolved administrations on behalf of the industry’s Public Affairs Group.


The Scottish Sports Minister met leaders from several sports – including horseracing represented by Jonathan Garratt of Kelso racecourse – on Tuesday at a “positive and constructive” meeting around the return of sport in Scotland.


As noted in last week’s update, the BHA’s Chief Medical Adviser, Dr Jerry Hill, is part of a working group of medical advisers from major sports that met last week with the UK Culture Secretary and Public Health England officials to discuss the principles around the safe resumption of sport. These meetings continued this week and the dialogue has given us another opportunity to put forward options and demonstrate our plans for a safe, measured and controlled resumption of sport.


Through these discussions, we have demonstrated to government the work being done to ensure a safe and responsible return to racing. This includes minimising risk to participants through detailed planning around strict social distancing and infection control measures, alongside engaging with local communities (predominantly around racecourses) to provide information and reassurance about our plans.

 

Race programme and resumption planning

 

Whilst continuing to plan for all eventualities, we have today published a provisional outline race programme that will cover the first 7 days of racing – whatever the resumption date.

 

The provisional race programme can be viewed in full here.


Please note that this programme covers the first 7 days of resumption only and equates to 13 fixtures (one fixture on the first day and two fixtures on each of the six subsequent days).


As explained below, work continues on confirming which racecourses will host fixtures in the initial stages of the resumption of racing. The outline programme therefore categorises races by geographical region – North, Midlands, and South – and by type, class and distance. It provides participants, and particularly owners and trainers, with an indication of the intended programme of races that will take place in the first week of resumption. We are also developing a provisional programme for subsequent weeks, which we will publish in due course. 


Furthermore, last week, the Flat Pattern Committee’s sub-group published a provisional plan for Flat Pattern and Listed races, which is based on best-case scenario planning for restaging a certain number of races lost from early spring. We will continue to work to that provisional plan, pending any government announcements, and adjust plans accordingly to allow sufficient preparation for our flagship races, depending on when and under what circumstances racing can safely recommence.


The industry’s Members’ Committee met on Wednesday to consider a financial plan to support the resumption of racing. As outlined in previous updates, due to reduced racecourse revenue, prize money will be heavily dependent on Levy Board contributions until betting shops re-open and crowds return to racecourses. The proposals have today been sent to the Levy Board, which expects to meet early next week with a view to agreeing resumption funding, and together we will aim to provide greater clarity around revised minimum prize money values in an update next week.


At this stage, the race programme – and particularly the date on which it can commence – is still subject to guidance from the relevant public health authorities and the conditions in place during a phased return to racing.


Once this information is known, we will be able to confirm which racecourses will be included in the first 7 days following resumption. As explained last week, an application process has been completed for racecourses to express interest in participating in the initial phases of resumption. The response from racecourses was overwhelmingly positive, with all courses expressing interest in being included.


The BHA’s Head of Racing, Chief Medical Adviser and Senior Inspector of Courses are now working with these courses individually on their own operational plans for resumption. This includes detailed work on how a raceday will function: from strict medical, biosecurity and social distancing protocols, to minimising the risk of injury and incident and avoiding unnecessary pressure on local NHS provision.


This work, together with a wider understanding of the public health requirements that will be in place, will help inform decisions around which racecourses may be able to stage fixtures on resumption.


We have also been working with major sports broadcasters and the Horserace Writers and Photographers Association (HWPA) to establish arrangements for provision of coverage of racing behind closed doors, whilst also minimising the numbers of personnel on-course and ensuring adherence to social distancing protocols.

 

----------------

 

The Resumption of Racing Group is comprised of representatives from the BHA, the Horsemen’s Group, the Racecourse Association and the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB).

 

The Group is working to ensure that racing is prepared and in a position to restart at the earliest possible opportunity.

 

We hope that this information is useful and provides reassurance that racing will be ready to resume as soon as conditions allow.
The Resumption of Racing group will continue to send regular updates to keep you informed about progress.

 

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us directly if you wish to discuss any aspect of this work in more detail:

 

Resumption planning: Brant Dunshea bdunshea@britishhorseracing.com

 

Fixture list and race planning: Richard Wayman rwayman@britishhorseracing.com


2020 Flat Pattern programme: Ruth Quinn rquinn@britishhorseracing.com


General enquiries  

Info@britishhorseracing.com

 

We would also ask that you feed in any questions or matters for consideration to [insert member organisation contact details] so that these can be relayed to the Resumption Group to be addressed in future updates. 


As ever, we would like to thank you for your patience, understanding and support as we continue to shape this work. Our priority is to get back racing at the earliest opportunity

Flat Pattern Committee - update 1 May

Planning is underway to ensure we are ready to resume racing at the earliest appropriate opportunity. This includes the development of a provisional fixture list to help trainers prepare for resumption, as outlined in the latest industry update, which we will begin to publish next week.

As part of this planning, a sub-group of the Flat Pattern Committee is preparing a suitable Pattern and Listed programme, which will prioritise the Classics and other flagship races for horses most likely to provide a future fundamental role on behalf of the breed.

Under our best-case scenario planning (and subject to advice from public health authorities), the aim is to rescue a number of lost Pattern and Listed events from the early part of the spring and stage them during the second half of May and early June if possible.

Our ambition would be to stage the Flat Pattern and Listed races listed below, should the timeline and circumstances of recommencement allow. Any other Pattern or Listed races that had previously been scheduled to take place before the end of May will be abandoned and not rescheduled. A full list of abandoned races is also provided below.

It is possible that the races listed below may not be staged at their traditional venues and may need to be hosted at alternative racecourses. Again, this is dependent on wider circumstances, the available fixtures and the public health guidance in place at the time.

It is also likely that racing will be restricted to domestic (GB trained) runners only, initially at least until 30 May, in line with a similar approach taken by other international racing jurisdictions. France has confirmed that no foreign runners will be permitted until 1 June; with Germany last night extending its restriction on foreign runners until at least 31 May (from 22 May).

We must emphasise that this provisional plan is based on our best-case scenario and may need to be adjusted according to when and under what circumstances racing is safely able to recommence.

Provisional plan for the last two weekends in May:

Weekend 1
Pavilion (6f 3yo Group 3)                                
*Nell Gwyn (7f 3yo f Group 3)                          
*Craven (8f 3yo cg Group 3)                            
*Greenham (7f 3yo cg Group 3)
*Fred Darling (8f 3yo f Group 3)
Brigadier Gerard (10f 4+ Group 3)                   
Conqueror (8f 4+ f Listed)                                              
Pinnacle (12f 4+ f Group 3)
Sagaro (16f 4+ Group 3)                                 
Aston Park (12f 4+ Group 3)              
Paradise (8f 4+ Listed)

(*Note: It would not be the intention to stage the Greenham and Fred Darling on the same day as the Craven and Nell Gwyn.  Also note distance change of the Fred Darling to 8f)

Weekend 2
Lockinge (8f 4+ Group 1)                                
*Palace House (5½f 3+ Group 3)                     
Yorkshire Cup (14f 4+ Group 2)                      
Dante (10f 3yo Group 2)                                 
Musidora (10f 3yo f Group 3)                          
Cecil Frail (6f 3+ f Listed)            
Spring Trophy (7f 3+ Group 3)                        
Middleton (10f 4+ f Group 2)

(*Note: Distance change of the Palace House to 5½f)


Provisional plan for the first weekend of June
2000 Guineas (8f 3yo cf Group 1)                    
1000 Guineas (8f 3yo f Group 1)                     
Coronation Cup (12f 4+ Group 1)             
Pretty Polly (10f 3yo f Listed)                          
Newmarket (10f 3yo cg Listed)            
Bronte Cup (14f 4+ f Group 3)


Please note, based on this best-case scenario planning, Royal Ascot would still be scheduled to take place in its existing slot, commencing on 16 June, with the Derby and the Oaks held in early July.

List of abandoned races up to the end of May

March
Doncaster Mile (8f 4+ Listed)
Cammidge Trophy (6f 3+ Listed)
Magnolia (10f 4+ Listed)

April
Further Flight (14f 4+ Listed)
Burradon (8f 3yo Listed)
Snowdrop (8f 4+ f Listed)
Feilden (9f 3yo Listed)
Earl of Sefton (9f 4+ Group 3)
European Free Handicap (7f 3yo Listed)
Abernant (6f 3+ Group 3)
Lansdown (5f 3+ f Listed)
John Porter (12f 4+ Group 3)
Blue Riband Trial (10f 3yo Listed)
Sandown Mile (8f 4+ Group 2)
Gordon Richards (10f 4+ Group 3)
Sandown Classic Trial (10f 3yo Group 3)
King Richard III (7f 4+ Listed)
Nottinghamshire Oaks (10f 4+ f Listed)
Chelmer (6f 3yo f Listed)

May
Daisy Warwick (12f 4+ f Listed)
Jockey Club Stakes (12f 4+ Group 2)
Dahlia (9f 4+ f Group 2)
Chester Vase (12½f 3yo cg Group 3)
Cheshire Oaks (11½f 3yo f Listed)
Ormonde (13½f 4+ Group 3)
Dee (10½f 3yo cg Listed)
Huxley (10½f 4+ Group 2)
Buckhounds (12f 4+ Listed)
Lingfield Derby Trial (11½f 3yo cg Listed)
Chartwell (7f 3+ f Group 3)
Lingfield Oaks Trial (11½f 3yo f Listed)
Kilvington (6f 3+ f Listed)
Royal Windsor (8f 3+ cg Listed)
Duke of York (6f 3+ Group 2)
Westow (5f 3yo Listed)
Michael Seeley (8f 3yo f Listed)
Marygate (5f 2yo f Listed)
Newbury Fillies’ Trial (10f 3yo f Listed)
Carnarvon (6f 3yo Listed)
Fairway (10f 3yo Listed)
King Charles II (7f 3yo Listed)
Leisure (6f 3+ Listed)
Rothesay (10f 4+ f Listed)
Heron (8f 3yo Listed)
Temple (5f 3+ Group 2)
Sandy Lane (6f 3yo Group 2)
Height Of Fashion (10f 3yo f Listed)
Henry II (16f 4+ Group 3)
National (5f 2yo Listed)
Cocked Hat (11f 3yo cg Listed)
Tapster (12f 4+ Listed)
Festival (10f 4+ Listed)
John of Gaunt (7f 4+ Group 3)
Achilles (5f 3+ Listed)


About the Flat Pattern Committee

The Flat Pattern Committee advises and makes recommendations to the BHA Board on matters relating to maintaining and improving the programme of Flat Pattern and Listed races.

To facilitate planning for the resumption of racing during the covid-19 pandemic, the FPC has set up a sub-group to help ensure that a suitable programme is delivered for the horses that are most likely to provide a future fundamental role on behalf of the breed.

Membership of the FPC’s sub-group:

Lydia Hislop (C)
Emma Berry
Andy Clifton
Julian Richmond-Watson
Harry Charlton
Philip Freedman
Ruth Quinn
Simon Crisford
William Haggas
Charlie Liverton

For more information about this work, please contact: 

Ruth Quinn - rquinn@britishhorseracing.com

Resumption of Racing - update 30 April

Update from the Resumption of Racing Group

 

Resumption planning

This week, racecourses have been invited to submit expressions of interest to stage fixtures under plans for the resumption of racing. This process will support the development of a provisional race programme.


As explained in previous updates, the plan for resumption is based on a phased approach that supports the transition of racing back to a normal fixture list, in a controlled and measured way. Different scenarios – or ‘phases’ – have been developed, which can be implemented and adapted as circumstances require, in accordance with public health guidelines.


It’s possible that not all phases will be required, but at this stage all scenarios are being considered so that we are prepared to race under whatever circumstances exist at the time that racing is able restart.


In the early stages of this model, racing would resume behind closed doors under strict conditions, at locations that meet specific criteria around risk mitigation and infection control. This may include full quarantine conditions at secured sites if absolutely necessary, or behind closed doors racing, with sites limited to those that are able to meet strict hygiene conditions, social distancing measures and appropriate medical provision.


Under the strictest infection control scenarios, attendance at the site(s) would be limited to staff essential to delivering the race fixture. These restrictions on personnel will be continually reviewed and gradually eased to accommodate connections, including owners and trainers, in line with Government guidance.


All locations will need to adhere to stringent medical and risk mitigation protocols, to the satisfaction of the BHA Chief Medical Adviser, to minimise the risk of injury and incident and reduce any unnecessary pressures on local NHS provision.


Equally, they will also need to follow strict biosecurity protocols to manage risks associated with horse transportation in and out of the site. These protocols are being developed through the Resumption of Racing Group and in collaboration with industry experts and other major sports.


The BHA’s Chief Medical Adviser, Dr Jerry Hill, is part of a working group of medical advisers from major sports that is meeting with the UK Culture Secretary and Public Health England officials, to discuss the principles around the safe resumption of sport.


The Resumption of Racing Group is also engaging with counterparts in other racing jurisdictions on plans for resumption in different countries. Earlier this week, Brant Dunshea joined a call with representatives from France, Ireland and Germany, where it was noted that some European nations have resumed racing behind closed doors this week, including Norway. Germany will resume from next week and work continues in France and Ireland toward resumption planning.


Our French colleagues are working on a resumption behind closed doors from 11 May. It will be a step by step process as racing resumes in France with no foreign runners permitted until 1 June. However, subject to multiple factors including an easing of government travel restrictions, France Galop hopes to be welcoming foreign runners from that date, when they plan to run the French Guineas.

Germany has also confirmed that foreign runners will not be permitted until at least 22 May (inclusive).

 

Fixture list and race planning

To help owners and trainers plan, during the next week we will be developing a provisional programme for the first seven days of racing following resumption – whatever the resumption date. We will then subsequently publish the rest of the provisional programme up until the end of June. This will be as close as possible to the original programme for the period, which means we will be looking to stage roughly the same number of races by type, class and distance.


Ahead of this, we will issue a fixture cancellation notice for all fixtures that were originally scheduled to take place during May and June. This simply reflects the fact that we will be publishing a new provisional programme and does not seek to pre-empt or pre-judge any Government decisions around lockdown or resumption.


As explained in last week’s update, the initial resumption of racing will be a staged and measured process, with only a small number of fixtures initially, subject to advice from public health authorities. This will be kept under continual review, with further fixtures added in a phased and controlled manner as circumstances permit.


We will also look to confirm prize money values as soon as possible. In normal circumstances, racecourses provide approximately half of prize money, but with betting shops, which drive media rights income, closed and no crowds, their contributions will be significantly impacted. Every effort will be made to keep prize money as high as possible, but reductions below recent levels are inevitable.


Other relevant points to assist in making plans at this stage include:

  • In the early stages of racing resuming, we plan to restrict races to the most experienced riders, which includes jockeys who claim a maximum of 3lbs. This aims to support risk management and infection control by minimising the number of people in confined areas. The decision will be reviewed continually as resumption progresses.
  • We also intend to limit field sizes to 12 runners, at least initially. In response to queries that we have received, there are no plans to restrict the number of runners that any owner or trainer can have in a single race.
  • We have said previously that we would like to help more horses become eligible for a handicap rating after two runs. This will be achieved by making horses eligible for a rating if they have finished in the first six places on both of their first two starts.
  • Non-standard handicap bands will be utilised in the programme, with at lower levels, races programmed with 2lbs between the tops of the bands. For example, races staged for horses rated up to 66, 68, 70 etc. Over longer trips where there is less competition for places, there will be between 3lbs and 5lbs between the tops of the bands.
  • Under our best-case scenario planning, the programme of nurseries will commence slightly later than normal, at the beginning of August.

Finally, we continue to plan towards a resumption of Jump racing at the beginning of July. Please note that following the suspension of racing, we will amend Jump novice status so that winners since the beginning of February will retain their novice status until 30 November.


As ever, the approach outlined above is based on our best-case scenario planning and would need to be adjusted accordingly depending on when and how racing is able to recommence.

 

2020 Flat Pattern Programme

As outlined last week, under our best-case scenario planning, the aim is to save a number of Pattern and Listed events from early spring by rescheduling them, ideally in the second half of May. We will share this list of races at the earliest possible opportunity, together with those races that have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled. As noted previously, a later restart would require these plans to be adjusted accordingly. 


Overall, the key principles for the black type programme for 2020 are that the Classics are the priority, and that the flagship older-horse races will need to be slotted in around them.


Government relations

Earlier this week, the BHA’s Chair, Annamarie Phelps, and Chief Executive, Nick Rust, met the UK Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston, to discuss racing’s plans for resumption and the wider economic impact of covid-19 on the industry. The Minister is aware of and supports the work being undertaken for resumption at the earliest safe opportunity.


The discussion outlined that any restart would be subject to advice of public health authorities and could not apply undue pressure on medical services and available testing. It also considered how continued exercise of racehorses during the lockdown could reduce the time for competition to resume.


The Minister also addressed the resumption of racing in the House of Commons on Monday in response to a Parliamentary Question from Newbury and Lambourn MP, Laura Farris. In his answer, the Minister explained that while it’s not possible at this stage to set a timescale for the lifting of current restrictions, potential conditions in which sport might return include behind closed doors, with limited staff and with consideration of first responder capacity and regular testing – all of which are incorporated into the plan for resumption of racing.


Next week, the Scottish racecourses will be joining representatives from other major sports bodies at a meeting with the Scottish Sports Minister. This will provide an opportunity to discuss the resumption of sport in Scotland, where the approach to exiting lockdown and easing restrictions may differ from other UK countries.


Finally, the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Paul Davies, has submitted a question to the Welsh Government on the business support being made available to the thoroughbred sector in Wales, to ensure this is equivalent to the support available to counterparts across the UK.

----------------

The Resumption of Racing Group is comprised of representatives from the BHA, the Horsemen’s Group, the Racecourse Association and the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB).

The Group is working to ensure that racing is prepared and in a position to restart at the earliest possible opportunity.

We hope that this information is useful and provides reassurance that racing will be ready to resume as soon as conditions allow.
The Resumption of Racing group will continue to send regular updates to keep you informed about progress. We are also developing an FAQs document , which will be published on the BHA website and shared in future resumption updates.

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us directly if you wish to discuss any aspect of this work in more detail:


General enquiries  

Info@britishhorseracing.com

We would also ask that you feed in any questions or matters for consideration info@roa.co.uk so that these can be relayed to the Resumption Group to be addressed in future updates. 


As ever, we would like to thank you for your patience, understanding and support as we continue to shape this work. Our priority is to get back racing at the earliest opportunity.

Resumption of Racing Group - update 24 April

Resumption planning

As noted in last week’s update, the plan for the resumption of racing is based on a range of models, which can be adapted as circumstances require to support the transition to a normal fixture list, in accordance with any gradual easing of Government restrictions.

At this stage, we are not ruling out any model for resumption; all scenarios are being considered.

On current planning, we anticipate that the early stage models for resumption would allow for horses to race behind closed doors under strict conditions at locations which meet specific criteria around risk mitigation and infection control.

Once finalised, these criteria will be used to identify which racecourses may, in principle, be able to fulfil the safety requirements of racing behind closed doors under the strictest resumption models.

Although jump racing will not take place before 1 July 2020, all flat and jump racecourses will shortly be invited to apply to host fixtures and demonstrate how they are able to meet the conditions specified in each model. The Resumption of Racing Group will share with racecourses the assessment criteria and additional information about the submission process.

Dr Jerry Hill, the BHA’s Chief Medical Adviser, who will play a key role in working with individual racecourses one on one, continues to work with medical advisors from other sports to coordinate planning around resumption in relation to risk mitigation and social distancing.

Early next week, Brant Dunshea will meet representatives of other racing jurisdictions, including France, Ireland and Germany, to discuss how different countries are planning for resumption.

 

Fixture list and race planning

When racing resumes, the intention is to keep the race programme as close to normal as practicable, with opportunities for all classes and ages of horse, including two-year-olds. We are working on a fixture list and an outline race programme for the first two months following resumption, which we intend to publish within the next fortnight. This will provide a sense of how the calendar would look on resumption.

It is likely that the size of the fixture list will be restricted initially. As explained in our previous update, with no income from crowds and the potential continued closure of betting shops, racecourse revenues will be significantly reduced, which means there will be a greater reliance on the Levy Board to meet the costs of resuming racing. As well reducing the number of fixtures that we can afford to stage, this will inevitably impact prize money values. We can’t provide exact figures on this yet, and we are still exploring various options that might be available to support or supplement prize money until crowds return and/or betting shops re-open.

Field sizes will also be limited initially to 12 runners per race. This is based on risk modelling, which indicates that field sizes of 12 or fewer reduces the risk to participants on the track and assists with social distancing requirements at the racecourse. We recognise that this will increase competition for places, so to help counteract this, we plan to extend the number of races on a card including by staging more divisions.

Even though we intend to provide a balanced programme, it is likely that due to competition for places, some horses, particularly those that are lower rated, may find it difficult to get a run in the early stages of resumption. Indeed, this may be similar to the sort of situation that we usually face in the autumn. When conditions allow, more fixtures will be added and we also anticipate extending the Flat season beyond its normal end date, and so the connections of such horses may wish to take this into account in determining their plans. In summary, we have tried to reach a balance between minimising avoidable risk and providing as many opportunities as possible for horses to be able to run.

We have taken in a similar risk mitigation approach in relation to jockeys, with analysis from the BHA’s medical department indicating that the more experienced riders are less likely to suffer injuries. Consequently, only the more senior jockeys will be able to ride under initial plans. This will be reviewed continually as resumption progresses.

Finally, to further reduce risk for participants of infection from the virus in the early stages of resumption, no individual will be permitted to attend more than one fixture per day. Attendance will be limited to only those personnel required to deliver the race fixture, with the number able to attend determined by public health restrictions in place at the time. These restrictions on attendance will be continually reviewed and gradually eased to accommodate connections, including owners, and other raceday staff in line with Government guidance.

 

2020 Flat Pattern Programme
Last week we outlined our best-case scenario planning for some of our principal races. Under this plan, our aim is to run the Guineas in early June, with Royal Ascot commencing on 16 June (as per its traditional slot), and the Derby and Oaks in early July.
 

Whilst the timing of these key races is of course dependent on when and how racing can resume, our intention is to ensure that, regardless of the circumstances, the principal races will be able to perform the essential role assigned to them: i.e. to help identify the best horses and those, therefore, which will be most highly-prized for subsequent breeding purposes.
 

In addition, under our best case scenario planning, the aim is to rescue a number of lost Pattern and Listed events from the early part of the spring and stage them during the second half of May. These races will provide a critical mass of ‘trial’ events, covering the spectrum of distances and age-groups, to act as useful prep-races in order to help ready our highest calibre of horses prior to the Guineas, Royal Ascot and Derby.

We are acutely aware of the responsibility to support the development of these horses and will try to provide trainers with sufficient notice to prepare horses for major races.


Government relations

The BHA, acting on behalf of the industry-wide Public Affairs Group and alongside other major sports, has been meeting the UK Sports Minister by phone every week since lockdown commenced. These conversations will continue on a regular basis, alongside discussions with senior officials at Number Ten and Defra. 

These conversations have provided an opportunity to discuss the matter of resumption for all sports and the conditions that will have to be met – principally around safety of participants and social distancing to minimise the risk of infection. We have used these opportunities to emphasise the unique position of horse racing, both as a sport with human and equine competitors, and an industry that supports tens of thousands of jobs, directly and indirectly, across the country.

Yesterday, the UK Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, appeared before the DCMS Select Committee and outlined that the resumption of sporting events should be in line with the five tests for lifting lockdown, as set out by the Government last week. The Secretary of State said that he will be working with sports, such as racing, to understand how resumption can work in practice, before seeking Government permission to allow them to take place.

Racing’s Public Affairs Group engaged with the DCMS Select Committee ahead of the Culture Secretary’s appearance and provided background information on aspects of resumption planning to help brief Committee Members and support the session. The Public Affairs Group will also be providing evidence to the DCMS Select Committee inquiry into the impact on sport of covid-19, which is scheduled to begin in early May.

We will also continue to liaise with the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales. The Scottish Government today published its Decision Making Framework around Covid-19 and a broad outline how decisions will be made around easing restrictions. The Public Affairs Group has written to the Scottish Government outlining racing's economic proposals, and will engage with the administration on resumption planning. 

There is also ongoing work to liaise with MPs at a local level, prioritising those MPs with racing businesses in their constituencies. Laura Farris, the MP for Newbury, has submitted a written question for next week’s DCMS Questions in the House of Commons, which will ask the Government to update on how it is supporting the racing industry.


----------------

The Resumption of Racing Group is comprised of representatives from the BHA, the Horsemen’s Group, the Racecourse Association and the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB).

The Group is working to ensure that racing is prepared and in a position to restart at the earliest possible opportunity.

We hope that this information is useful and provides reassurance that racing will be ready to resume as soon as conditions allow.


The Resumption of Racing group will continue to send regular updates to keep you informed about progress. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us directly if you wish to discuss any aspect of this work in more detail:

Resumption planning: Brant Dunshea bdunshea@britishhorseracing.com

Fixture list and race planning: Richard Wayman rwayman@britishhorseracing.com

2020 Flat Pattern programme: Ruth Quinn rquinn@britishhorseracing.com


General enquiries  

Info@britishhorseracing.com

We would also ask that you feed in any questions or matters for consideration to info@roa.co.uk so that these can be collated and relayed to the Resumption Group to be addressed in future updates.

As ever, we would like to thank you for your patience, understanding and support as we continue to shape this work. Our priority is to get back racing at the earliest opportunity.

Resumption of Racing Group - update 17 April

Dear Trainers,

We are writing to you with an update on the continuing planning for the future resumption of racing, to ensure we are ready to restart racing at the earliest appropriate opportunity.

We want to reassure you that this is our overwhelming priority.

Resumption planning

Current planning for resumption is based on a phased approach, which will allow the sport to transition back to a normal fixture list in a controlled way that is consistent with what is likely to be a gradual easing of Government restrictions.

A full range of possible scenarios is being considered, from the very strictest public health and quarantine measures, through to racing behind closed doors, and finally a return to racing with no specific measures in place.

These models can be adapted as circumstances require and will allow for horses to race under strictly controlled conditions, at locations which meet specific criteria. These criteria are in the process of being finalised by the resumption Group.

A key consideration in this planning is minimising the risk of injury and incident so that we do not increase the burden on local NHS and medical services.

Fixture list and race planning

Our current planning, informed by the decision of the BHA Board on Wednesday, is being done on the basis of ruling no date out, so we can be ready to return at the earliest point conditions allow. This is our clear aim and ambition. One of the scenarios being considered would allow for the resumption of Flat racing behind closed doors with a revised fixture list of a reduced number of fixtures, once the lockdown ends.

The constraint on fixture numbers is a result of the likelihood that not all racecourses will be able to race behind closed doors or meet specific criteria around risk mitigation. Moreover, with no income from crowds and betting shops potentially still closed, there will be a greater reliance on the Levy Board for prize money. This will both limit the fixtures we can afford to stage, and also inevitably impact on prize money values.

Aside from the major races (see below for more information), we will aim to keep things as close to normal as possible, with a standard mix of handicaps and weight-for-age races for all horses.

We anticipate that in the early stage of resumption, field sizes will need to be restricted to support the logistics of social distancing on a raceday and to minimise the risk of incidents. For the same reason, it is possible that for a while we will avoid races for apprentices.

We recognise that a restricted fixture list will limit early opportunities to race. To help overcome this, we plan to extend fixtures beyond the normal number of races, possibly by staging more divisions than usual.

In addition, we are looking at other ideas, including:

  • Framing handicap races with non-standard rating bands (e.g. instead of staging handicaps with a maximum rating of 70 and 75, also having some with a maximum rating of 71, 72, 73 or 74)
  • Changing handicap eligibility rules so that more horses can be eligible for a rating after two starts
  • Possibly staging some maiden races for unrated horses who keep finding themselves being eliminated from standard novice and maiden events.

Plans are also being developed for a Jumping programme from July 1st, which will be largely based on the original programme book. Trainers are currently being asked for details of the horses they expect to have ready to run at that time so that appropriate revisions to the programme can be made.

Finally, to reflect this fast-moving situation, we have suspended production of the Racing Calendar for now and expect to produce an online version with details of the revised programme as soon as the resumption of racing begins to look possible.

2020 Flat Pattern Programme

As with the wider race planning, we are developing a plan to ensure a suitable Pattern programme will be in place. This will involve prioritising the scheduling of the Classics, as well as the other key races which are aimed at horses most likely to provide a future fundamental role on behalf of the breed. We will of course be looking to ensure that our best horses have suitable opportunities to develop and to demonstrate the best of their ability within an appropriate and meaningful structure of races, but this will require the cooperation, flexibility and mutual understanding of many parties.

Our best-case scenario planning would allow for the Guineas to be run in early June, and the Derby and Oaks in early July, with Royal Ascot still scheduled to take place in its existing slot commencing on 16 June. In this scenario, we would also be looking to stage several key Classic trials, and other trial races feeding into Royal Ascot, during the second half of May. We emphasise that a later restart would require these plans to be adjusted accordingly.

Some of the principal Group 1 races for older horses may be required to move to a slightly different date, especially in order to accommodate the early Classic races, and it may prove sensible to alter one or two of them to 4+ (from 3+) if their proximity to a key 3yo event is closer than ideal.

It is unlikely that the entire black type programme will be staged this year. However, regardless of the circumstances, we will ensure that the key generation-defining races will be run, as well as safeguarding the Group 1 programme as much as possible.

Again, this outline structure (and its likely condensed nature) will need to be based on what is collectively best for the thoroughbred and the industry as a whole. And as with the wider race programme, it is contingent on external factors and will need to be adapted based on what’s feasible in terms of when racing can commence and in what form.

Government relations

It is important to emphasise that while these plans are being formulated with a view to recommencing racing at the earliest opportunity, the timing of this decision will be dependent on an easing of Government restrictions.

By planning effectively now, we can demonstrate to Government that the sport has a coordinated and practicable strategy for resumption; one that is deliverable and mitigates risk.

The BHA, acting on behalf of the industry-wide Public Affairs Group and alongside other sports, is liaising with Government on a daily basis to show how racing can resume in a safe and responsible way, when it’s appropriate to do so.

We hope that the information included in this note provides reassurance about the work being undertaken to make sure racing is in a position to resume as soon as external conditions allow.

The Resumption of Racing Group will be sending updates on a regular basis to keep you fully informed about progress, but please do not hesitate to contact us directly as below if you wish to discuss any aspect of this work in more detail.

Resumption planning: Brant Dunshea bdunshea@britishhorseracing.com

Fixture list and race planning: Richard Wayman rwayman@britishhorseracing.com

2020 Flat Pattern programme: Ruth Quinn rquinn@britishhorseracing.com

General enquiries

Info@britishhorseracing.com

Finally, we would like to thank you for your patience, understanding and support as we continue to shape this work. Like you, our priority is to get back racing at the earliest possible opportunity.

 

 

Resumption of Racing Group

Resumption of Racing Group - update 17 April

Dear Trainers,

We are writing to you with an update on the continuing planning for the future resumption of racing, to ensure we are ready to restart racing at the earliest appropriate opportunity.

We want to reassure you that this is our overwhelming priority.

Resumption planning

Current planning for resumption is based on a phased approach, which will allow the sport to transition back to a normal fixture list in a controlled way that is consistent with what is likely to be a gradual easing of Government restrictions.

A full range of possible scenarios is being considered, from the very strictest public health and quarantine measures, through to racing behind closed doors, and finally a return to racing with no specific measures in place.

These models can be adapted as circumstances require and will allow for horses to race under strictly controlled conditions, at locations which meet specific criteria. These criteria are in the process of being finalised by the resumption Group.

A key consideration in this planning is minimising the risk of injury and incident so that we do not increase the burden on local NHS and medical services.

Fixture list and race planning

Our current planning, informed by the decision of the BHA Board on Wednesday, is being done on the basis of ruling no date out, so we can be ready to return at the earliest point conditions allow. This is our clear aim and ambition. One of the scenarios being considered would allow for the resumption of Flat racing behind closed doors with a revised fixture list of a reduced number of fixtures, once the lockdown ends.

The constraint on fixture numbers is a result of the likelihood that not all racecourses will be able to race behind closed doors or meet specific criteria around risk mitigation. Moreover, with no income from crowds and betting shops potentially still closed, there will be a greater reliance on the Levy Board for prize money. This will both limit the fixtures we can afford to stage, and also inevitably impact on prize money values.

Aside from the major races (see below for more information), we will aim to keep things as close to normal as possible, with a standard mix of handicaps and weight-for-age races for all horses.

We anticipate that in the early stage of resumption, field sizes will need to be restricted to support the logistics of social distancing on a raceday and to minimise the risk of incidents. For the same reason, it is possible that for a while we will avoid races for apprentices.

We recognise that a restricted fixture list will limit early opportunities to race. To help overcome this, we plan to extend fixtures beyond the normal number of races, possibly by staging more divisions than usual.

In addition, we are looking at other ideas, including:

  • Framing handicap races with non-standard rating bands (e.g. instead of staging handicaps with a maximum rating of 70 and 75, also having some with a maximum rating of 71, 72, 73 or 74)
  • Changing handicap eligibility rules so that more horses can be eligible for a rating after two starts
  • Possibly staging some maiden races for unrated horses who keep finding themselves being eliminated from standard novice and maiden events.

Plans are also being developed for a Jumping programme from July 1st, which will be largely based on the original programme book. Trainers are currently being asked for details of the horses they expect to have ready to run at that time so that appropriate revisions to the programme can be made.

Finally, to reflect this fast-moving situation, we have suspended production of the Racing Calendar for now and expect to produce an online version with details of the revised programme as soon as the resumption of racing begins to look possible.

2020 Flat Pattern Programme

As with the wider race planning, we are developing a plan to ensure a suitable Pattern programme will be in place. This will involve prioritising the scheduling of the Classics, as well as the other key races which are aimed at horses most likely to provide a future fundamental role on behalf of the breed. We will of course be looking to ensure that our best horses have suitable opportunities to develop and to demonstrate the best of their ability within an appropriate and meaningful structure of races, but this will require the cooperation, flexibility and mutual understanding of many parties.

Our best-case scenario planning would allow for the Guineas to be run in early June, and the Derby and Oaks in early July, with Royal Ascot still scheduled to take place in its existing slot commencing on 16 June. In this scenario, we would also be looking to stage several key Classic trials, and other trial races feeding into Royal Ascot, during the second half of May. We emphasise that a later restart would require these plans to be adjusted accordingly.

Some of the principal Group 1 races for older horses may be required to move to a slightly different date, especially in order to accommodate the early Classic races, and it may prove sensible to alter one or two of them to 4+ (from 3+) if their proximity to a key 3yo event is closer than ideal.

It is unlikely that the entire black type programme will be staged this year. However, regardless of the circumstances, we will ensure that the key generation-defining races will be run, as well as safeguarding the Group 1 programme as much as possible.

Again, this outline structure (and its likely condensed nature) will need to be based on what is collectively best for the thoroughbred and the industry as a whole. And as with the wider race programme, it is contingent on external factors and will need to be adapted based on what’s feasible in terms of when racing can commence and in what form.

Government relations

It is important to emphasise that while these plans are being formulated with a view to recommencing racing at the earliest opportunity, the timing of this decision will be dependent on an easing of Government restrictions.

By planning effectively now, we can demonstrate to Government that the sport has a coordinated and practicable strategy for resumption; one that is deliverable and mitigates risk.

The BHA, acting on behalf of the industry-wide Public Affairs Group and alongside other sports, is liaising with Government on a daily basis to show how racing can resume in a safe and responsible way, when it’s appropriate to do so.

We hope that the information included in this note provides reassurance about the work being undertaken to make sure racing is in a position to resume as soon as external conditions allow.

The Resumption of Racing Group will be sending updates on a regular basis to keep you fully informed about progress, but please do not hesitate to contact us directly as below if you wish to discuss any aspect of this work in more detail.

Resumption planning: Brant Dunshea bdunshea@britishhorseracing.com

Fixture list and race planning: Richard Wayman rwayman@britishhorseracing.com

2020 Flat Pattern programme: Ruth Quinn rquinn@britishhorseracing.com

General enquiries

Info@britishhorseracing.com

Finally, we would like to thank you for your patience, understanding and support as we continue to shape this work. Like you, our priority is to get back racing at the earliest possible opportunity.

 

 

BHA extends suspension of racing - update 15 April

The suspension of racing, which is due to finish at the end of April, is to be extended after a decision today by the Board of the British Horseracing Authority. Racing stopped on March 18th before the government introduced the current lockdown measures to protect essential emergency services and the health and safety of the public. The government has indicated publicly that it will announce tomorrow that the lockdown restrictions will continue.        

The BHA has not set a new date for ending the suspension but plans are in place so that the sport is ready to resume as soon as is possible and appropriate in consultation with government.  

The BHA has been working with trainers, racecourses and other participants to develop a phased plan for resumption which will allow the sport to transition back to its normal fixture list later in the year. We remain in constant contact with government and are ready to respond quickly.     

Our plans continue to allow for a resumption in May, if that is possible. We assume it would be behind closed doors only, at a point when the safety of participants can be assured and the pressure on the health service allows. Tough biosecurity measures would be in place to keep any risks to a minimum.

Because of the very strong likelihood that restrictions on mass gatherings will continue, the BHA has decided that racing with crowds will not be possible until June at the earliest. When there is greater clarity about the duration for which restrictions on crowds will apply, the BHA will communicate this to the sport, to customers and to fans.

The BHA’s Chief Executive, Nick Rust, said:

"We stopped racing in March to protect the health and safety of the public and to limit demands on the NHS. It’s right to continue this suspension until the pressure on the NHS allows for a resumption and we can assure the safety of those taking part.

"We are in touch with government as part of our development of a responsible, coordinated plan for the return of sport when it’s appropriate to do so.

"We’ll continue to develop a range of options drawing on the expertise of our participants and racecourses. But for now, we are all focused on supporting the national effort, maintaining social distancing restrictions and taking care of our people and our horses."

We are writing with an update on the planning that is being coordinated in relation to the resumption of racing. These changes will be reflected in the revised Covid-19 Operational Plan, which will be published early next week.

The focus of this planning is on the conditions that would need to be met in order to ensure resumption of racing at the earliest opportunity.

This involves a range of interrelated considerations, including operational planning on the racecourse, the ability of horsemen to service fixtures, the scheduling and rescheduling of appropriate fixtures and races, as well as the need to ensure that regulatory requirements can be met so that racing can take place safely.

We have now brought all of this together into a single Resumption of Racing workstream, where previously we had two groups - one looking at the operational, logistical and regulatory requirements, with the other focused on planning the most appropriate fixtures and race programme.

Brant Dunshea is leading the group, with the support of Richard Wayman and other BHA executives as required. Caroline Davies and Andy Clifton will represent the RCA. Horsemen will be represented by Ralph Beckett and Seamus Mullins from the NTF, and Charlie Parker for the ROA. Tom Byrne from the Levy Board is also a member of the Group.

As the Group’s work progresses numerous parties will be engaged, including RaceTech, on-course bookmakers & the HWPA. The team will also liaise with RMG and TRP to incorporate the needs of broadcasters and the betting industry. The RCA will ensure appropriate links are in place with The Jockey Club, ARC, large and small independent racecourses and Scottish Racing.

We are already anticipating that the initial return to racing is likely to be phased and almost certainly behind closed doors. This reflects the likelihood that any easing of the Covid-19 situation, and any associated restrictions and pressures on medical services, will also happen progressively.

With that in mind, we also expect any return to racing to begin, at least initially, with Flat racing, principally for reasons of safety and to minimise demands on emergency services. While every effort will be made to subsequently resume Jumping at the earliest opportunity, possibly with the scheduling of some Jumpers’ Bumpers cards, it may assist Jumps trainers to judge whether horses can/should be turned out or kept in training.


The priorities of the Group are as follows:

- To develop a resumption plan that appropriately reflects government advice in place at the time, including the pressures on the health service and public services generally, offering a range of options that can be adapted as required.
- To coordinate detailed operational planning for a return to racing.
- To maintain the resilience of regulatory services – stewarding, veterinary and integrity, to prepare for resumption.
- To ensure that an appropriate fixture and race programme is in place for racing’s resumption.
- To liaise with the betting industry and ensure they are engaged around the revised fixture programme and integrated into planning for the resumption of racing.
- To ensure that the needs of broadcasters are recognised at an industry level and can be factored into the redesign of the racing programme.
- To ensure racing’s administrative systems and processes are able to resume racing at the earliest possible opportunity.
- To engage the HBLB around the fixture programme, to identify prize money requirements and coordinate these in concert with the money workstream above.


Ruth Quinn from the BHA, with the support of a sub-group of Flat Pattern Committee members, will lead a separate but related piece of work on the planning of the Pattern, as well as international engagement in consultation with all relevant industry bodies.

We want to assure you that our main priority is to be ready for a resumption of racing as quickly as possible. The current suspension of racing runs until the end of April and the Group is planning for a resumption from the 1st of May.

The Group is focused on innovation and creativity and are considering any and all options that could be implemented quickly under a range of possible scenarios.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to discuss any aspect of this work further.

Many thanks,
Brant Dunshea, on behalf of the Resumption of Racing Group

National Hunt Racing

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced that it will delay the resumption of jump racing until the beginning of July. This decision was made following an initial proposal from the National Trainers Federation (NTF), with the aim being to provide clarity to the trainers and owners of jump horses and to assist them in minimising any unnecessary expenditure.

 
The decision has been taken in agreement with the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) and Racecourse Association (RCA).
  
As included in the industry plan announced on Monday, detailed proposals are being developed for a resumption of racing from 1st May, if that’s possible. When that happens, racing will begin on the flat and behind closed doors to minimise demands on emergency services.
 
The return to racing is also likely to be phased with a limited number of fixtures in the initial weeks. This reflects the likelihood that any easing of the Covid-19 situation, and any associated restrictions and pressures on medical services, will also happen progressively. With flat racing usually entering its core season at this time of year, the focus in the early stages of the return to racing will be on providing opportunities to the flat horse population.

A team led by the BHA’s Chief Regulatory Officer, Brant Dunshea, with representatives from across the industry met yesterday (Wednesday) to review the developing plan for resumption from 1st May.       
 
Planning has also commenced for a return to jump racing, beginning from 1st July. It will include providing extra opportunities by programming more jump fixtures than would usually occur at this time of year, including during the originally scheduled jump breaks in August and September.

Tracks capable of holding jump racing in this period and most affected by the reduction in the number of jump fixtures earlier in the summer will be given priority when programming additional opportunities. 

Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer of the BHA, said:

"The decision to lose jump racing until July was not one which was taken lightly and we are very conscious of the impact this will have on many across our sport.
 
“We are working closely with the horsemen, racecourses and Levy Board to ensure the sport is ready for a resumption of racing at the earliest possible opportunity. Our planning is progressing well, and it is important that we keep everybody informed as it develops to help them with their own decision-making.

“The plan involves a phased return of racing, as well as increasing the jump programme in late summer and early autumn. With that in mind, we wanted to ensure that those who own or train jumps horses have a clear picture of how we are planning to proceed in the coming months.

"Additionally, we were keen to minimise the risk of any unnecessary expenditure by confirming that there will be no jump racing before 1st July. This will allow horses to have breaks away from training yards if owners wish them to." 
 
Emma Lavelle, President of the NTF, said:

"Having canvassed the opinion of Jump trainers, we felt a break in Jump racing until 1st July would bring clarity for owners, trainers and staff, and allow the immediate focus to be on Flat Racing which is already losing a major part of its core season. 

"There was a willingness to engage in constructive conversation amongst the BHA and other stake holders and flexibility to produce a programme that will give plenty of opportunities to the summer jump population later in the year”.

Charlie Parker, ROA Board member and representative on the Resumption of Racing Group, said:

"The decision to delay the resumption of Jump racing until 1st July will help bring clarity to those who were looking forward to seeing their horses run over the summer months. By taking this decision, owners and trainers can now plan with more certainty, albeit with the knowledge that it will be a phased return and therefore opportunities for horses to run will be limited initially.

"The ROA will continue to work with the Resumption of Racing Group to ensure that, when feasible, British racing is able to restart a race programme as soon as possible."

David Armstrong, Chief Executive of the RCA, said:

"All parts of the industry are suffering right now, and racecourses are no exception, but we are fully supportive of this decision to give some certainty to horsemen and others around the timing of a resumption of jump racing.

"Equally, the commitment from the BHA that they will look to stage an enhanced programme of jump fixtures during the late summer and early Autumn is very helpful and should give some comfort to all those involved."
 
Dale Gibson, Executive Director (Racing) of the PJA, said:
 
“The PJA, having consulted senior Jump Jockeys and our Board via conference call this morning, fully supports the plan for Jump Racing to return in July. Any changes to the summer programme present new challenges for everyone involved, especially during these incredibly difficult times. We all need to be willing to adapt and work collectively for the benefit to the sport as a whole. 

"This includes having an agreed plan for the initial resumption of racing, whenever that may be, as long as we are able to do so safely from both a national perspective and from a participants’ point of view. We look forward to working closely with other stakeholders in producing a plan to get racing back up and running as soon as possible.”

 

Equine Welfare

Trainers are especially reliant on Owners at the moment, in order to maintain their businesses and to ensure the continued care of our horses. I know we all take our responsibilities seriously in this respect. During this period, we are therefore actively encouraging Owners and Trainers to maintain strong mutual communication channels, and further support can be provided by the ROA or the NTF in relation to these areas.

DEFRA advice

DEFRA advice is updated frequently and contains advice for pet owners and livestock keepers on maintaining the welfare of their animals during the coronavirus pandemic.

Members are advised to sign up for updates on this page, especially if they have their horses at home at the moment:

DEFRA COVID-19 advice page

Equine Flu vaccinations

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA)’s cross-industry Veterinary Committee – in conjunction with the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) and British Equestrian Federation (BEF) – has today approved a proposal regarding the vaccination schedule for equine influenza in British racehorses. The move has been made in order to help trainers, owners and vets tackle the significant logistical challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and provide clarity for all.

During the remainder of 2020, for a horse to be eligible to compete in Britain it will be necessary to have received an approved equine influenza vaccination within the last 12 months, instead of the existing nine-month requirement. The 12-month approach reflects the policy that was in place in Britain prior to 2019.

The existing BHA policy that vaccinations must have taken place within the last nine months is an interim policy pending a full industry consultation on what the permanent protocol should be. However, the Veterinary Committee, BEVA and the BEF are in agreement that because of the movement restrictions currently in force, the levels of immunity in this population developed as a result of  the  intensive vaccination activity over the last 12 months, and the fact that there have been no reported equine influenza cases in the horse population in the UK this year, the move to the old vaccination protocol does not represent a significant risk for the remainder of 2020.

The reason for this change is to simplify the advice to owners, trainers and vets no matter how long the effect of COVID-19 impacts on equestrian sports and veterinary activities. It gives trainers and vets clear direction for the rest of the year and allows them to plan their vaccination schedules with certainty. It also reflects the difficulties for trainers and vets in administering vaccinations while restrictions on movement and human contact are in place and allows for the racing herd to return to full activities as soon as possible once racing resumes.

In order to continue to best protect the racing industry from the effects of equine influenza it is suggested that, where possible, the current nine-month regulations are adhered to. However, given the current COVID-19 government requirements it is clear that this will not always be achievable, and provided that a horse has had an approved vaccination within the last 12 months it will remain eligible to compete when racing resumes.

The initial vaccination intervals for primary vaccinations and booster vaccinations will also reflect the protocols that were in place under the old 12-month protocols.

The change to the policy is currently in place for 2020 only. The Veterinary Committee will continue to monitor the situation and make further recommendations when necessary. Previously the BHA had announced its intention to hold a consultation in 2020 on permanent changes to the vaccination protocols. This consultation will be temporarily delayed while resources are dedicated to managing the coronavirus outbreak, but will be carried out as soon as is practicable.

Summary of Requirements for the remainder of 2020

  • There will be a relaxation of the current requirement for a booster within 9 months of raceday – for the remainder of 2020, all horses must have received booster vaccinations of not more than one year apart.
  • If any vaccination is administered late (either an annual booster over one year apart, or any of the primary course vaccinations), the horse will have to re-start a new primary course.
  • For full details of primary course requirements, please the Vaccinations Code.
  • The proposed consultation for vaccination harmonisation across Europe will be temporarily delayed, and carried out as soon as is reasonably practicable.
  • The BHA Veterinary Committee will continue to monitor the situation, and make further recommendations when necessary.

 

Q&A

What if my horse goes over a year without a vaccination? 

If this was to occur then you would need to restart your vaccination process from the beginning.

What if my horse goes over a year without a primary or secondary booster?

Again you would need to restart your program as from the beginning.

What will happen in 2021 – when will the nine months return?

This is yet to be determined and will depend on the consultation and also the wider situation regarding COVID-19 and the effect on routine vaccinations by stable veterinarians.

Are these calendar months or days?

12 months refers to 12 calendar months as per usual, rather than 365 days

What happens if my horse isn’t racing – can he go over one year without having to re-start?

No, if the horse was to go over a year without a vaccination then it would need to restart a program from the beginning, whether it is racing or not.

Notes:

About the BHA Veterinary Committee

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA)’s Veterinary Committee advises on all veterinary matters affecting racing and the health and welfare of racehorses. It contains representatives of the BHA, Association of Racecourse Veterinary Surgeons (ARVS), British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), National Trainers Federation (NTF), Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), Animal Health Trust (AHT), Thoroughbred Breeders Association (TBA), Racecourse Association (RCA) and Independent expertise.

About the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA)

BEVA is a world leading equine veterinary association committed to championing high standards of equine health and welfare. We advance the veterinary and allied sciences, promote scientific excellence and educate equine veterinary professionals throughout the world. More information: https://www.beva.org.uk/About-BEVA

About the British Equestrian Federation (BEF)

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) is the National Governing Body for horse sports in the UK, affiliated to the Federation Equestre Internationale  (FEI), the international governing body of equestrian sports. It exists to provide leadership, vision and purpose in steering the direction of equestrianism. Its patron is HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. More information: https://www.bef.co.uk/Default.aspx

Industry protocols for Breeders

The TBA has produced a guide for Breeders, which can be downloaded here:

Industry protocols for Breeders

The TBA COVID-19 page also has a number of useful templates for breeders:

TBA COVID-19 page

Moving Horses

Points to consider for owners around horse movement

Communication

Keep up good communication with your trainer. Let your trainer know how the current situation is affecting you.  It will help your trainer plan your horse’s care and training and help them to plan their business accordingly.

 

Training agreement/variation in terms

For horses in training, where a variation in terms is agreed between you and your trainer get it confirmed in writing.  A clearly written email will suffice.  This will serve as an update to your training agreement. A current agreement is required under the Rules of Racing, 15, Trainer Code.  The ROA / NTF template of the training agreement can be found here

 

Transporting horses

The equine industry is awaiting updated guidance from DEFRA on the movement of horses following the Government introduced restrictions of 23 March.  In the meantime, the Thoroughbred Breeders Association issued a protocol which covers transport of horses to studs and draft template for boarding studs transporting mares for covering and return.

https://www.thetba.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-protocol-for-thoroughbred-breeders.pdf     The TBA website also includes a draft template for boarding studs transporting mares for covering and return.

 

Transfer of Responsibility

Under the Rules of Racing your trainer will be required to mark your horse/s as being taken out of their care and control. 

They will record where a horse is transferred to you as its owner.  An email will be triggered to you via the Racing Admin website noting the date the horse left the care of the trainer and explaining the requirements of transfer of responsibility.

In accordance with Equine Anti-Doping Rules, you will need to accept the transfer of responsibility. This can be done quickly and easily by logging in to the My Horses section of Racing Admin www.racingadmin.co.uk

If you don’t have your login, or have problems logging in, a Transfer of Responsible Person form will need to be completed.  If necessary, a copy can be downloaded from:

https://www.britishhorseracing.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Transfer-of-Responsible-Person-Form-october-2019-update.pdf

Please note that failure to do so doesn’t absolve you from your responsibilities under the Equine Anti-Doping Rules. For further information see

https://www.britishhorseracing.com/regulation/anti-doping-medication-control/guidance-on-prohibited-substances/

 

ROA Members Third Party Liability scheme

During this very difficult time we are mindful that owners may have horses whose seasons have had to finish prematurely, or who will have been sent away from their trainers’ yards for a prolonged period of rest or turnout. We would remind members to check with the ​owners/proprietors of such premises that they have the requisite Third Party Liability cover in place (for a minimum limit of indemnity of £2 million, but ideally for up to £5 million).

If your racehorse(s) normally return to your home or your own premises for their rest periods, or if you are intending to do this due to the exceptional current circumstances you should check your liability cover will extend to include these. Most household policies include domestic animals; whilst this may include leisure horses and ponies it may not include racehorses whilst resting.

Should you have any queries please use the attached link to contact details for our insurance brokers Weatherbys Hamilton who will be happy to help https://www.roa.co.uk/benefits/third.html.

 

Horses returning to racing

Owners are reminded of the following anti-doping regulations.

http://rules.britishhorseracing.com/#!/book/34/chapter/s3457-anti-doping

 

Vaccination schedule: equine influenza

For the remainder of 2020, for a horse to be eligible to compete in Britain it will be necessary to have received an approved equine influenza vaccination within the last 12 months, instead of the existing nine-month requirement. The 12-month approach reflects the policy that was in place in Britain prior to 2019.
 
For full details see https://www.britishhorseracing.com/press_releases/equine-influenza-vaccination-requirements-temporarily-relaxed-owing-to-coronavirus-outbreak/
 

Horses retiring from racing 

Both owners and trainers (acting as an agent for the owner) are able to notify the BHA about the decision to retire a horse from racing through the Racing Admin website at www2.racingadmin.co.uk

The owner/trainer will be asked to confirm:

  • The reason for the horse’s retirement
  • Restrictions on racing in the future (non-racing agreement)
  • Details of the horse’s new keeper

Completion of the online form triggers the start of the permanent retirement process, which takes 14 days; after that date the horse is made ineligible to run and is no longer bound by the Rules of Racing.

It also triggers a notification to any new keeper, advising them that they are responsible for completing a transfer of ownership within 30 days. If the new keeper fails to do this, they may incur a fine of up to £5,000 from Trading Standards.


New owner details

Where the horse has a new owner, the new owner’s name, email address and postcode will need to be uploaded by the trainer​/owner when giving notification of retirement through the Racing Admin website.

This information helps ensure the racing industry can identify and have the fullest possible traceability for those racehorses that have retired from the sport.

A dedicated page on the BHA’s website will allow participants to check the retirement status of any horse. This can be found at https://selim.britishhorseracing.com/padua/

 

Passports

To update ownership information online (for horses not in training) see weatherbysgsb.co.uk

In the case of a horse that dies or is euthanised the passport must be returned to Weatherbys within 30 days, along with a note stating the date of death.  Passports can be returned to the owner upon request.

 

Life after racing

BHA provides guidance around a racehorse’s life after racing https://www.britishhorseracing.com/regulation/life-after-racing/

 

Retraining of Racehorses (RoR)

As British horseracing’s official charity for the welfare of retired racehorses, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) places great value on improving traceability. In addition to meeting legal requirements in updating the passport, the owners of former racehorses should register their horse with RoR.

Initial registration is free, ensuring both ongoing traceability of where a horse is in retirement, and providing the new keeper with a support network. Registering for free includes the opportunity to benefit from the extensive programme of educational activities run by RoR. Last year over 300 educational events were available to those registered with RoR.

RoR also assists racing owners and trainers in rehoming and retraining their horses. The charity offers an advice line, the Source a Horse website facility and a retrainers directory. RoR is also awaiting funding to roll out a nationwide network of regional field officers who, once recruited, will be the on the ground points of contact for owners and trainers.

https://www.ror.org.uk/

 

Central Equine Database

The Central Equine Database is used by equine Passport Issuing Organisations (PIOs) who upload passport records, and by regulatory bodies including Defra, the Devolved Administrations (for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), the Food Standards Agency and Local Authority Trading Standards.

Owners can register with the Digital Stable at https://www.equineregister.co.uk/home

 

Further information

If you require any additional guidance, the following membership organisations resources may be helpful:

Owners – https://www.roa.co.uk/

Trainers – https://www.racehorsetrainers.org/homepage/index.asp

Breeders – https://www.thetba.co.uk/

Transporters – http://racehorse-transporters.org/index.php

 

 

Yards, Racecourses and Studs

On Monday 23 March, the UK Government introduced restrictions requiring people to stay at home as far as possible to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. These restrictions will be in place initially for the three weeks following 23 March.

The official Government guidance can be read here.

Government introduced three new measures:

  1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
  2. 2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
  3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

Can staff working at racing yards or studs still go to work?

The guidance stipulates that people can leave home to travel to and from work “only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.”

On this basis, and provided that travel is strictly limited to the express purposes outlined by Government, travel directly to work to care for horses may continue. 

Staff who are essential to the care of horses in respect of the above, and who absolutely cannot work from home, should continue to travel to work during the period of these restrictions.

Can groundstaff still go to work?

Our current interpretation of the guidance, informed by conversations with DCMS, is that groundstaff may still travel to work to perform core outdoor duties on racecourses or at other facilities, provided requirements around social distancing and gatherings of no more than two people are followed.

For further advice, please contact the RCA.

Will the new restrictions affect the way I operate my yard or stud?

Horses should of course be cared for at all times – including access to food and water, clean bedding and exercise. Many business will require staff to travel to work to provide this.

Our current understanding is that, in order to adhere to Government guidance, the standard of care should be focused primarily on upholding their welfare, rather than their fitness to race. Any non-essential activity beyond this should be carefully considered and, where possible, avoided.

Staff at yards MUST follow Government advice relating to social distancing when outside – remaining at least two metres apart and avoiding gatherings of more than two people, apart from members of their own household, at any time.

Will my main suppliers (e.g. of feed, bedding, etc.) remain open?

The Government has advised that pet shops will remain open for access to supplies for animals, and we understand that this will also apply to suppliers of feed, bedding and appropriate veterinary medicines.

Some restrictions or staffing/supply chain issues may apply in relation to individual businesses, so you are advised to check direct with your suppliers.

Any business encountering disruptions in supply should make their membership body (e.g. NTF, TBA) aware as soon as possible. We are - and will remain - in discussions with Defra on this

Will vets still be open for business and able to visit?

The Royal College of Veterinary surgeons has advised its members to reduce face-to-face veterinary consultations to focus on emergency appointments, fulfilment of urgent prescriptions and maintaining the food supply chain. Please be mindful of this when contacting or consulting your veterinary surgeon or supplier.

Please be conscious that some veterinary practices may have additional restrictions in place, e.g. caused by staffing shortages if staff are self-isolating.

Are Farriers considered essential and will they be able to visit?

The Farriers Registration Council (FRC)’s interpretation of the Government guidance is that Registered Farriers can continue to provide essential services to equines, and they should continue to attend to equines using their judgement as to matters of priority and/or urgency, with provisos around hygiene and social distancing. This advice is subject to change.

Further updates

This is our current guidance, based on liaison with Defra and DCMS in relation to specific issues impacting on animal welfare, and general advice to businesses. It is possible that Government will further refine or clarify its own guidance over the coming days, which may make it necessary to amend this guidance to the racing industry.

The Government has already outlined support packages for workers who can be furloughed and paid at 80% of their wages in the period. For more information, please speak to your membership organisation.

 

Industry

Operational Plan

1. Introduction

The purpose of this plan is to protect the health of British racing’s people, horses and businesses during the pandemic and plan for the earliest possible resumption of racing and a strong recovery.
This plan provides an overview of the wide and comprehensive range of activity, led by the Industry’s COVID 19 Group, to meet the challenges to the racing industry presented by the pandemic. It sets out objectives for the 5 key streams of work and the tasks already underway.

This plan is an iterative document and will be updated as the response progresses. It will drive the work going forward and be used as a template for reporting back to senior leaders, the industry and external stakeholders where required.

This plan has been developed by the Industry Group (IG) and approved by the Members’ Committee of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) representing racing’s tripartite leadership, the Racecourse Association (RCA), The Horsemen’s Group (THG) and the governing body and regulator, the BHA.


2. Objectives

There are 3 parts to the IG plan, Response, Resumption and Recovery. Here is a summary of each.

2.1 Response –The racing industry’s COVID 19 Group began meeting in February. The RCA issued initial guidance to racecourses based on expert medical advice. Further guidance was drafted for trainers and breeders and distributed by the NTF and TBA.

Daily briefings to jockeys commenced ahead of the Cheltenham Festival which continued with government support. The Jockey Club put in place additional measures to protect public health. The IG produced a plan for racing behind closed doors which happened at Kelso, Taunton and Wetherby.
The draft plan has been in place for several weeks and has already required substantial revision since racing was suspended on 17th March. The lockdown announced on March 23rd demonstrates that the plan will need continual revision to face the growing public health and economic pressures.
This plan puts in place the initial leadership and resources to manage the crisis. The aim is to coordinate activity, make the best use of the sport’s resources, engage in a coherent way with government and address immediate needs, for people and horses, as they emerge.

The industry is already moving to resolve immediate issues, notably where government help leaves gaps. More will need resolving as the crisis develops, based around a series of workstreams, each with their own leadership and supporting teams.

Racing is playing its part in the national effort to resolve the crisis. The decision to suspend racing, after consultation with representative groups from across the sport, was based on a desire to protect public health and free up medical resources without which racing cannot safely take part.

Individual racecourses and racing areas are already supporting their local communities. Activity is coordinated through Racing Together, which leads on community engagement for British racing.


2.2 Resumption – The industry is already developing options to get back to racing when it is safe to do so. It is critical that those within the sport can look forward and plan for a positive future. We will engage with government and local services to support a return to racing when the time is right
The Industry Group has contributed to a submission to the UK government that sets out the economic impact of the pandemic. About 20,000 people are directly employed in racing. For every pound spent in the industry, two more are generated in the wider economy, making racing worth an estimated £4.1 billion to the UK Economy. The submission details the value to the taxpayer and UK PLC of a resumption of economic activity. Racing proposes to work with the government to develop creative solutions to resume when that is possible.

To do this, racing will need to maintain racecourses in the right condition and fill critical roles at a race-day, including doctors and paramedics. It will need horses fit to race and jockeys ready to ride. We are planning a revised fixture programme that will be flexible enough to respond to local variations in the provision of health services and continuing government restrictions.

We cannot yet set out a timetable for resumption. No one can. Our ability to keep resources in place, horses exercised and ready to return to action, will be tested. The industry’s leaders would like to give more certainty over dates, but it is too early to do at present.

2.3 Recovery – Responding to the crisis, addressing hardship and keeping the industry afloat, will use resources. These include funds which can be made available from the Racing Foundation. This manages the endowment from the sale of the Tote and is looking to combine its contribution with support from other charitable trusts and funds. This will provide multi-million-pound support for any charitable activity required. The Horserace Betting Levy Board also holds reserves and discussions are underway about how these should best be used.

With no timetable, it is very difficult to calculate what will be required to alleviate hardship. Industry leaders also need to ensure there are sufficient funds ready to restart racing when revenues will not immediately return to the levels seen before the pandemic.

Businesses and bodies involved in racing are putting staff on furlough, using the Coronavirus Job Retention Programme. This may create challenges for the sport’s infrastructure, depending on how long the crisis continues. We need to ensure we have sufficient resource in place to maintain our assets through what seems likely to be a gradual return to normality.

The Industry Group works to the following objectives.


3. Operational objectives
  • To coordinate racing’s response to COVID 19, producing a coherent plan which maintains the industry, its businesses and people, in the best shape to resume and recover strongly.
  • To ensure that racing maximises government financial support and uses this or industry funds effectively to mitigate the financial impact on businesses and individuals.
  • To support those working in racing and manage the public health risk.
  • To look after the health and welfare of our horses
  • To plan for a resumption at the earliest possible opportunity
  • To lead accurate and timely engagement with audiences inside and outside the sport

4. Workstreams

There are five streams of work in total. Finance, People, Equine Health and Welfare, Resumption and Recovery. The first three will run through the entirety of the response. There are specific streams of work to plan for the resumption of racing and then a recovery phase.
There are three enablers for the operational plan which support all of the workstreams. These are, governance and programme management, communications and engagement and medical advice.


4.1 Finance
The Finance workstream covers these areas. All parts of the industry will be engaged through their representative bodies.

  • Maximising financial support from government, by ensuring that racing businesses such as trainers and racecourses are included where possible in general government schemes covering areas of the economy (e.g. the hospitality sector, business rate relief).
  • Identifying areas where racing seeks specific help from government, in concert with other sectors where this will strengthen the case (e.g. equestrian or other sports)
  • Identifying the resources and reserves within the sport (The Racing Foundation, charitable trusts) or available to the sport (Horserace Betting Levy Board) and engaging these bodies to seek assistance, and make the most effective use of the resources
  • Identifying financial needs so these can be assessed, including investors, owners, businesses across all parts of the industry
  • Identifying appropriate criteria for responding to needs so that money can be distributed fairly, as speedily as possible and proportionately to the assessed needs.
  • Identify appropriate mechanisms for distributing funding & establish where none exists.
  • Ensure the response itself has sustainable funding (for an indeterminate period).
  • Ensure appropriate funds are available to resume racing and plan for recovery after the crisis

Finance Team

This work is led by the short-form Executive Committee, which includes Nick Rust BHA, David Armstrong RCA, Charlie Liverton ROA, Rupert Arnold NTF, Paul Struthers PJA and Rod Street GBR. Claire Sheppard TBA, Alan Delmonte HBLB and Rob Hezel, The Racing Foundation, attend as appropriate.

This group is supported by Richard Wayman and the BHA’s financial team, and the BHA’s Public Affairs Team, including Will Lambe and the Head of Public Affairs, Ross Hamilton.
Specialist support is also available from a strategic business consultancy, Portas, which had been developing an economic model of racing based on up-to-date information on revenues and expenditures across the industry. This also allows the team to define the wider economic benefits of the industry and communicate these to government.


4.2 People
The People workstream covers the following areas.

  • To look after people who work in racing in whatever capacity and provide additional support to that offered by employers to mitigate the impact of the crisis on their personal lives
  • To support the physical and mental health of racing industry staff
  • To advise the finance group on immediate hardship and the most acute needs
  • To coordinate and support the activity of racing charities and other offers of help in delivering financial and other assistance (e.g. Racing Welfare, Injured Jockeys Fund).
  • To ensure sufficient capacity of mental health and counselling services is maintained
  • To provide feedback to the Industry Group on people needs as they develop and assess how these can be addressed, in particular, working closely with NARS
  • To identify where people gaps appear, and match available staff, using Careers in Racing, the Careers Advice and Training Service and representative bodies’ own resources
  • To promote Racing Welfare’s Racing Support Line as the primary route for enquiries and requests for help in order to assess and manage demand
  • To work with each of the membership bodies to assist in providing specialist information most relevant to their own cohort.
  • To liaise with the British Racing School and the National Horseracing College as appropriate


People Team
Dawn Goodfellow from Racing Welfare leads the team, supported by the Industry People team from the BHA, Holly Cook, from the RCA, Lisa Hancock from the IJF, George McGrath from NARS and other charities and organisations offering help and assistance.

Racing Welfare’s Racing Support Line is the preferred channel for requests for help. (Details on the Racing Welfare website). A team of trained and experienced counsellors is available 24/7 and this service will be maintained. The capacity to assess need and distribute support will be increased.
The BHA Industry People team will support redeployment of staff where required through the Jobs Board of Careers in Racing and the CATS service. The BHA Safeguarding team, which exists to protect vulnerable youngsters and adults, will continue to operate.

4.3 Equine Health and Welfare
The financial needs of those work in the owning, training and breeding sectors will be assessed and responded to through the Finance workstream set out above. The Equine Health and Welfare workstream exists to protect the welfare of horses, identify related needs as they emerge and ensure appropriate resources are available. Engagement with other equestrian bodies will avoid duplication of effort and provide a strong collective voice when dealing with DEFRA.
The main areas of work are

  • To ensure that the racing industry is able to continue to look after the health and welfare of horses and support the people who care for them
  • To identify acute needs, for example, where there are particular risks to equine welfare
  • To provide safety-net care in partnership with the BHA Veterinary and Welfare team, equine vets and retirement charities and homes (e.g. Retraining of Racehorses)
  • To establish a system to assess need and a funding mechanism to deliver financial support
  • To identify risks to the supply chain and engage with appropriate bodies (e.g. RCVS, Farriers).
  • To engage government via DEFRA to represent the interests of racing and ensure these are properly considered in government’s response to the pandemic
  • To ensure that trainers and breeders and those in the equine sector receive appropriate advice and support where possible to enable them to adapt to government restrictions
  • To engage with the Horse Welfare Board
  • To establish clear guidance for dealing with welfare issues where funding is not available
  • To support owners, keeping them engaged and informed, and assisting with their needs wherever possible

Equine Health and Welfare Team
David Sykes, the BHA’s Director of Equine Health and Welfare, leads this team supported by members of the Horse Welfare Board, NTF, TBA and ROA representatives, Roly Owers from World Horse Welfare and Dr Jenny Hall from Retraining of Racehorses.
Dr Tim Morris, formerly the BHA’s Director of Equine Science and Welfare and an advisor to DEFRA and other animal welfare bodies, will act as a consultant to this team.

4.4 Resumption of Racing
The focus of this planning is on the conditions that would need to be met in order to ensure resumption of racing at the earliest opportunity.

The main priority is to be ready for a resumption of racing as quickly as possible. The current suspension of racing runs until the end of April. The Group is planning for a resumption from 1 May.
This involves a range of interrelated considerations, including operational planning on the racecourse, the ability of horsemen to service fixtures, the scheduling and rescheduling of appropriate fixtures and races, as well as the need to ensure that regulatory requirements can be met so that racing can take place safely.

We have brought all of this together into a single Resumption of Racing workstream. Previously, we had two groups - one looking at the operational, logistical and regulatory requirements, with the other focused on planning the most appropriate fixtures and race programme.
We are already anticipating that the initial return to racing is likely to be phased and almost certainly behind closed doors. This reflects the likelihood that any easing of the Covid-19 situation, and any associated restrictions and pressures on medical services, will also happen progressively.

With that in mind, we also expect any return to racing to begin, at least initially, with Flat racing, principally for reasons of safety and to minimise demands on emergency services. While every effort will be made to subsequently resume jumping at the earliest opportunity, possibly with the scheduling of some Jumpers’ Bumpers cards, it may assist jumps trainers to judge whether horses can/should be turned out or kept in training.

The priorities of the Group are as follows:

  • To develop a resumption plan that appropriately reflects government advice in place at the time, including the pressures on the health service and public services generally, offering a range of options that can be adapted as required.
  • To coordinate detailed operational planning for a return to racing.
  • To maintain the resilience of regulatory services – stewarding, veterinary and integrity, to prepare for resumption.
  • To ensure that an appropriate fixture and race programme is in place for racing’s resumption.
  • To liaise with the betting industry and ensure they are engaged around the revised fixture programme and integrated into planning for the resumption of racing.
  • To ensure that the needs of broadcasters are recognised at an industry level and can be factored into the redesign of the racing programme.
  • To ensure racing’s administrative systems and processes are able to resume racing at the earliest possible opportunity.
  • To engage the HBLB around the fixture programme, to identify prize money requirements and coordinate these in concert with the money workstream above.

Brant Dunshea leads the group with the support of Richard Wayman and other BHA executives as required. Caroline Davies and Andy Clifton lead for the RCA, Ralph Beckett and Seamus Mullins for the NTF, and Charlie Parker for the ROA. Tom Byrne from the HBLB is also a member of the Group.
As the Group’s work progresses there will be further input from the PJA and numerous parties will be engaged including RaceTech, Britbet and the Tote, on-course bookmakers & the HWPA. The team will also liaise with ITV, BBC, RMG and TRP to incorporate the needs of broadcasters and the betting industry. The RCA will ensure appropriate links are in place with The Jockey Club, ARC, large and small independent racecourses and Scottish Racing.

Ruth Quinn from the BHA, with the support of a sub-group of Flat Pattern Committee members, will lead a separate but related piece of work on the Pattern once racing has resumed as well as international engagement in consultation with all relevant industry bodies

4.5 Recovery
This a proposed workstream at present, but consideration is already being given to the specific tasks and areas of work that are likely to be required. Financial discussions are already considering the potential implications of a longer shutdown, if that is required by government measures, and ensuring that that sufficient resource is set aside.
There were many industry projects that were underway or in the pipeline prior to the lockdown. Consideration is being to which of these should be continued or even accelerated. Some projects may contribute to a speedy return to racing. Some may make the sport more efficient and effective and aid its recovery.

It is not too early to think and plan for how to come back strongly as an industry, making sure that when we do resume, we are in the right shape to compete for interest, investment and customers, even if resumption is behind closed doors at first.


5. Enablers

Three areas of support are required by all of the workstreams.

5.1 Governance & Programme Management
This work is about ensuring the Industry Group functions effectively. It has to ensure that the right leaders are in place with a clear set of accountabilities. It has to keep this plan up-to-date and ensure it is coordinated with relevant work going on in the industry. It has to ensure appropriate governance and engagement with the Members Committee, BHA Board, HBLB, government and other key stakeholders. It is working to a Programme Management model, following best practice for managing workstreams, timetables and resources. Its functions are

  • To ensure that an operational plan is agreed by the IG and the Members and kept under constant review to direct a programme of work to ensure an effective initial response, resolve issues as they appear, resume racing and assist recovery
  • To ensure the IG is itself resilient with appropriate leaders and alternates in place
  • To ensure that the progress of all workstreams is reported back to the industry group and managed in accordance with an agreed timetable and clear accountabilities
  • To identify risks and put in place mitigations
  • To ensure appropriate governance and decision-making processes are in place
  • To identify resourcing requirements for the IG and its supporting organisations and developing a resourcing plan as required
  • To ensure the group can function effectively through organisation & minuting of meetings and actions, documentation of activity, through an information hub.

Programme Management Team
The team is led by Martin Fewell from the BHA, with project management support. Nick Rust will normally chair the meeting and agree where issues need to be escalated as per the governance process below. The team has already added new members as issues have arisen and will continue to keep its own activity under review.
Escalation Process
All three voting members of the Executive Committee are on the Industry COVID 19 Group. That Committee should be the first point of contact for decisions beyond the scope of the Industry Group. The BHA Board, Members Committee and Horserace Betting Levy Board to be involved as needed.

5.2 Communications and Engagement
The national and racing response have moved very quickly from limited self-imposed restrictions to a government-directed lockdown. There is massive disruption to business and huge uncertainty for all. The communication challenge is formidable. A lack of clarity sometimes arises from the pace of the government’s response, making rapid decision-making difficult. Current objectives are

  • To ensure accurate and timely communication to internal and external audiences
  • To ensure appropriate channels of feedback are in place to all workstreams so that needs can be surfaced and addressed, and the impact of decisions quickly understood
  • To establish a clear demarcation of communication responsibilities between the IG and representative bodies to avoid a logjam in messages from the centre and tailor messages to the needs of particular groups
  • To follow an agreed communication and engagement plan
  • To provide clear and accurate information on the response, signposting to more detailed sources of information as appropriate
  • To maintain the engagement of key racing and external stakeholders
  • To lead the work of government engagement and ensure this is coordinated using the Public Affairs Group as appropriate
  • To use relevant relationships that racing holds with political figures in a coordinated way
  • To keep the public informed of the impact on racing and the rural economy to support government engagement activity

Communications Team
The BHA Communications team supports the IG, led by Martin Fewell, with its Head of Stakeholder Engagement, Alison Enticknap, leading stakeholder engagement, Ross Hamilton leading on Public Affairs and Robin Mounsey on Media. The team will be supported by a Joint Communications Group, which includes a range of communication specialists from across the industry, and is led by Rod Street and Naomi Lawson from GBR. This will be especially important as resumption approaches and we engage customers and the media
The Public Affairs team is supported by a specialist consultancy, Hanover, to advise on engagement with government and Parliamentarians.
Community engagement activity to support the national effort to resolve the crisis will be coordinated through Racing Together and publicized with the support of GBR.

5.3 Medical
All streams are supported by work to supply medical advice and assist the IG in planning for resumption when continuing public health restrictions are likely to be in place. This work covers the following areas,

  • To provide advice on medical, health and welfare issues that enable racing to protect the health of all involved in the industry, the public and customers
  • To provide advice on planning for all phases of the response and to assist in facilitating the resumption of racing
  • To ensure appropriate medical advice is available to representative bodies when specific issues arise affecting their members
  • To assist in engagement with local health services, private health care and the NHS
  • To support the resumption plan with appropriate medical advice

Medical Team
The medical team is composed on Dr Iain McNeil, Medical Advisor to the RCA, and Dr Jerry Hill, Chief Medical Advisor to the BHA, supported by the BHA’s medical team. Dr Hill and team are already providing medical advice on the resumption of racing.

6. Feedback

For feedback on the plan, please use communications@britishhorseracing.com
This plan is an iterative document and will be updated as the response progresses.


7. Appendix One

COVID-19 Group Representatives & Workstream Leads
Nick Rust - BHA Chief Executive – Chair of the COVID 19 Group
David Armstrong - RCA Chief Executive
Caroline Davies – RCA Racecourse Services Director
Holly Cook - RCA Racecourse Services Manager
Rupert Arnold – NTF Chief Executive
George Noad – NTF Racing Executive
Brant Dunshea – BHA Chief Regulatory Officer, LEAD Resumption
Richard Wayman – BHA Chief Operations Officer
Charlie Liverton – ROA Chief Executive
Alan Delmonte – HBLB Chief Executive
Rob Hezel – Racing Foundation Chief Executive
Claire Sheppard -TBA Chief Executive
Dawn Goodfellow – Racing Welfare Chief Executive LEAD People
Dr Iain McNeil – RCA – Medical advisor Co-LEAD Medical
Dr Jerry Hill – BHA – Medical advisor Co-LEAD Medical
Dr David Sykes – BHA Director of Equine Health & Welfare LEAD Equine Health & Welfare
Martin Fewell – BHA Director of Communications LEAD Programme Management
Alison Enticknap – BHA Head of Stakeholder Engagement LEAD Stakeholder Communications
Gemma Grant – BHA – Administration
Jessica Farr – BHA/HWB – Project Management

Gallops Fees

In what will come as welcome news for racehorse owners and trainers during the coronavirus pandemic, Jockey Club Estates announced it is reducing fees for horses using its gallops.

In a move designed to support those key to the sport, Jockey Club Estates will cut its fees by ten per cent for public training centres in Newmarket, Lambourn and – in consultation with the Training Grounds Management Board – at Epsom with immediate effect.

Nick Patton, managing director of Jockey Club Estates, said: 

“While racing fixtures are suspended, our gallops have remained fully open to allow horses to receive the essential exercise they need. As we are fully operational, our costs to maintain and run the training centres remain the same as normal, so it’s been a challenge to find ways to reduce fees to help owners and trainers during this incredibly difficult time.

“Trainers don’t want us to reduce the services we offer, so we have agreed a plan to cut fees by 10% for April, May and June while keeping everything open. Any surpluses already go back into our training facilities, so with less income we’ll need to review our projects and focus on how we can be the best possible partner in the short term.”

Industry protocols for Breeders

The TBA has produced a guide for Breeders, which can be downloaded here:

Industry protocols for Breeders

The TBA COVID-19 page also has a number of useful templates for breeders:

TBA COVID-19 page

Racing Calendar and Programme Book

Racing Calendar

We will continue to publish fortnightly as an online publication only for the meantime.  Early closers that were due to enter before the end of April will revert to be normal 5/6 day closers and prize money advertised will be set to £1 until 5 days before entry when the correct values will be published.  A decision will be made about early closers due to enter in future months nearer the time but probably on a monthly basis.

Other races will be published on the basis of a normal resumption of racing until such time that we know any differently but heavily caveated as prize money is unlikely to be achievable at advertised levels even if races do go ahead.

 

Programme Book 3

The programme book will be published as normal but with a caveat that race values may be reduced depending on how the situation evolves.  Racecourses are likely to set races at minimum values where possible and the industry will need to meet to discuss whether these are achievable as more is known.

Sales - Yearling inspection procedures

Goffs and Tattersalls have agreed a set of safety protocols to be implemented on farms during upcoming yearling inspections which will commence in the UK and Ireland on Monday 18 May under the phased return of outdoor workers outlined in the recently published British and Irish governments’ Covid-19 directives.
 
The safety procedures will be strictly followed by both inspection teams and comply with all government guidance relating to social distancing, hand sanitation, and the wearing of appropriate personal protective equipment to ensure the safety and welfare of vendors, their staff and the sales company personnel.  Vendors will receive details of the safety protocols from Goffs, Goffs UK, Tattersalls and Tattersalls Ireland in advance of the respective agent’s visit.

Weatherbys

Weatherbys PASScard helpdesk

The PASS Helpdesk will be closed during the period of the suspension of racing. Any messages and queries will not be answered during this time, but will be addressed when the Helpdesk reopens.

If your query does not relate specifically to PASS then please email registrations@weatherbys.co.uk

Weatherbys Vaccination App/E-Passport

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic we have had to make a number of necessary changes to raceday operations.

These changes will enable a resumption of racing that ensures the highest standards of safety and operational efficiency for your staff and ours.

One of these measures is to pre-clear vaccinations in horse passports thereby reducing the need for BHA staff and those responsible for the horses to come into contact with one another and risk breaking the social distancing rules. As well as bringing raceday operational improvements the vaccination app will also help prevent any raceday administrative issues around vaccination records.

Once the vaccination history has been cleared by the BHA, all future and subsequent vaccinations between the pre-clearance and race day should be uploaded directly by those responsible for the horse onto the Weatherbys Vaccination App.

The use of the Weatherbys Vaccination App will continue post Covid so the benefits of uploading and managing data at this stage will be felt for many years to come. The App will be integrated into a fully functioning E-Passport for the 2021 foal crop and all horses in training, with enhanced functionality to include, identification, medications, equine movement and ownership.  

 

Communications

Our team are working with industry leaders to propose and communicate various ways to support owners in racing over the coming days, and we will be communicating these to you through e-bulletins, direct contact and also Owner Breeder magazine. 
 
Communications to owners will be managed directly by the ROA, working with the industry group, rather than by the BHA. This is the approach we are taking across the industry, to ensure that everyone gets tailored information that meets their particular needs.
 
Please ensure that you keep us updated with your contact details, particularly including your email address.
 
We have sent members a number of communications on the work currently being undertaken:

Communication with your trainer

ROA members are advised to keep in close contact with their Trainers regarding their horse, and any fees due during the lockdown period.

Visits by owners to trainer's yards

The National Trainers Federation has released the following advice to their members:

Understandably, owners will want to visit to see their horses. These requests may increase now travel restrictions have eased. However, we strongly advise that you should decline the requests as it is essential for social distancing to be maintained to preserve the biosecurity of yards and therefore support racing’s return to competition.

 

Financial

VAT
Ensuring that fees are paid is obviously paramount, and with the ROA’s Tote/Britbet owner-sponsorship scheme owners can continue to recover the VAT incurred during the suspension of racing.  In addition, we would like to remind owners who are yet to register for VAT, that timeframes do apply for backdating the recovery on the original purchase and any associated expenses. Please do contact us directly to discuss these options, or if you have any concerns on this matter.

Find out more about the ROA's Tote/Britbet scheme here.

 

ROA Members Third Party Liability scheme

During this very difficult time we are mindful that owners may have horses whose seasons have had to finish prematurely, or who will have been sent away from their trainers’ yards for a prolonged period of rest or turnout. We would remind members to check with the ​owners/proprietors of such premises that they have the requisite Third Party Liability cover in place (for a minimum limit of indemnity of £2 million, but ideally for up to £5 million).

If your racehorse(s) normally return to your home or your own premises for their rest periods, or if you are intending to do this due to the exceptional current circumstances you should check your liability cover will extend to include these. Most household policies include domestic animals; whilst this may include leisure horses and ponies it may not include racehorses whilst resting.

Should you have any queries please use the attached link to contact details for our insurance brokers Weatherbys Hamilton who will be happy to help https://www.roa.co.uk/benefits/third.html.


Bloodstock Insurance:
You may not be aware, but Owners who have insured against all risks of mortality might be due a partial refund (return of premium) if the use is reduced, perhaps while a jumps horse is temporarily out of training, or where a horse is sold/retired.   It is worth checking with your insurers whether they will be making automatic readjustments.
 
 

Health advice

We understand that the Coronavirus outbreak is affecting everyone who works in racing in different ways. You may still be riding out every morning, running your own training facility, looking after new foals at stud, working from home following an office shutdown or you may be unable to work.

Whatever your circumstances, it has never been more important to look after your mental wellbeing. Mental wellbeing describes your mental state – how you are feeling and how well you can cope with day‐to‐day life. Our mental wellbeing is dynamic. It can change from moment to moment, day to day, month to month or year to year.

This toolkit from GBR offers guidance and resources to safeguard and improve your mental wellbeing at this unprecedented time.

http://www.greatbritishracing.com/latest/mind-matters-mental-helath-wellbeing-toolkit/

We continue to stress the importance of Owners adhering to Government guidance to protect themselves and the wider racing industry, particularly in relation to visiting racing establishments. Our guidance is in line with recommendations from public health experts. This guidance includes:

  • NHS advice on personal health and individual behaviour, with common questions about the virus.
  • Advice for travellers returning to or visiting the UK from an affected country.

Helplines

Wellbeing

Racing Welfare - 0800 6300 443 https://racingwelfare.co.uk/contact/

NHS 111https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/

NHS Guidance
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Mind - 0300 123 3393 

Great British Racing Wellbeing Toolkit: Here

Extremely vulnerable people who have received an NHS letter:

If you have received an NHS letter or are caring for someone who has, you can register for further support here www.gov.uk/cornonavirus-extremely-vulnerable or call 0800 028 8327, the government’s new dedicated helpline. 

In Wales, you should have received a letter if at higher risk. If you are in need of extra assistance, you will be advised to contact your local authority for support (contact details will be included in your letter). Any health or social care services you're already receiving, through you local authority, will continue and your health or social care provider will be asked to take additional precautions to make sure you are protected.
In Scotland, if you've received an NHS letter and are in need of extra assistance, you will be provided with details of your local support service. You will also be given details of a text message 
service if you need to arrange a weekly delivery of essentials including medication. Read more on nhsinform.scot. For those at high risk without family or community support, a national helpline has also been set up: 0800 111 4000Read more
In Northern Ireland, GPs will be writing to those most at risk to provide more detailed advice. A helpline is also now available on 0808 802 0020 and you can access help and guidance by emailing covid19@adviceni.net or texting: ACTION to 81025.

 

Government Help:

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Online:

COVID-19: support for businesses

Guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19: guidance for employees

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

Eligibility

You are eligible if your business:

  • pays tax or duties to the UK government
  • has outstanding tax liabilities

Webchat

Advisers can only talk to you about problems paying your taxes due to coronavirus (COVID-19). This could be:

  • Self Assessment
  • VAT
  • employers’ PAYE
  • Corporation Tax

They will not be able to transfer you to another webchat team. Speak to an adviser.

Phone

Due to measures put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) we have fewer advisers available to answer your calls.

Telephone: 0800 024 1222

Opening times: Monday to Friday: 8am to 4pm

Workplace Guidance
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/social-distancing-in-the-workplace-during-coronavirus-covid-19-sector-guidance

Information for Employers and Business
For general guidance visit the following pages:

ACAS – https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus

 

Information for Employees and the Self-Employed

Check if you are eligible for the Job Retention Scheme here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

 

General

News from the Health and Safety Executive: https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/coronavirus.htm#

 

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